Video Update, Deferral Exemptions, State Testing Playbook, Nov 2020 SBE Update

Video Update - Budget, Politics and Technology
This week Tim and I are joined by Governor Bob Wise to discuss the latest news regarding the budget, stimulus, and California's representation in the Presidential transition team. With the election coming to a close we have more news wrapping up local bond measures and seat's filling up both in the House of Representatives and our state's Senate and Assembly. If that wasn't enough, Tim talks about the FTC's settlement with Zoom's end to end encryption and projections on increased spending for Cybersecurity. Hope you find it informative. 
Click HERE to see the online video briefing.
See discussed articles below:
YOU'RE INVITED: Please join us on December 1, 2020, California’s State Controller Betty Yee and State Treasurer Fiona Ma will join Capitol Advisors for a deeper look at California’s economy, the Legislative Analyst’s economic forecast and the implications for K-12 schools and the January Governor’s budget proposal.
Click HERE to register for CITE's Annual Conference starting November 16th.
Kevin Gordon, President
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC
Deferral Exemption Applications Available
The application for school districts and charters to apply for exemptions from the February through May 2021 principal apportionment deferrals is now available. To be approved for an exemption, the applicant must demonstrate that a deferral would result in an inability to meet financial obligations. 
Applications can be found here, and are due by December 15, 2020.  A second application window, which will apply to the June 2021 deferral, will open no later than March 1, 2021.
Let us know if you have any questions.
Christina Marcellus
Legislative Advocate | Capitol Advisors Group
State Releases Testing Playbook for Schools
We interrupt your regularly scheduled election tracking to let you know that the Department of Public Health has issued a letter to school leaders, and a playbook for how organizations, including schools, can increase COVID-19 testing capacity in light of the opening of the Valencia Regional Laboratory.
The letter is available here, and the playbook can be found here. Please note, the playbook is still a working document, and changes might be made. 
We are working on a deeper analysis of the playbook, and will follow up with a future update. 
Thank you, and take care.
November 2020 SBE update – SBAC, Charters and More!
As with the last few State Board of Education (SBE) hearings, the November 2020 SBE meeting largely continued the Board’s work to address issues created by COVID-19 but also brought an update on the implementation of recent charter legislation. In addition, as this was the last meeting of 2020, President Darling-Hammond made a brief statement on the Board’s direction for the coming year. She indicated that the Board would continue to work to address inequities in access and services as well any gaps in learning made more evident by the pandemic and use the opportunity created by COVID-19 to look at learning in a new way.
Below you will find a summary of the major issues and takeaways from the meeting followed by information on the regular agenda items and waiver requests heard by the Board.
Some highlights include:
  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System. The Board approved revisions to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts and Math to allow for a shorter test form as well as proposed Student Score Reports (SSRs) for the Initial and Summative Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).
  • California State Accountability System. The Board confirmed new elements of the student growth model and heard a presentation on the report and recommendations of the California Advisory Task Force on Alternative Schools
  • Charter School Renewals. As required under last year’s AB 1505, the Board adopted a list of assessments that may be used as verified data for purposes of renewing middle and low performing charter schools.
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System (CAASPP)
Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
As mentioned in much more detail in our earlier update, the Board approved revisions to the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for ELA and math in order to provide shorter, yet substantive, exams. The goal of the shorter tests is, for the 2021 Spring administration, to reduce testing time and the burden on students and teachers this year while also increasing the flexibility for local educational agencies (LEAs) to utilize multiple test administration options to best meet the needs of their students and families.
Alternate ELPAC SRRs
The Board approved the design of the 2021 Summative Alternate ELPAC SSRs and 2021-22 Initial Alternate ELPAC SSR. The design was created after consultation with parent/guardian and stakeholder groups who were able to discuss and provide feedback on the usability and readability of sample Alternate ELPAC SSRs.
The Alternate ELPAC SSRs have a planned operational launch in July 2021. They will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), Vietnamese, and Filipino.
Additional information on both the revised Smarter exams as well as the Alternate ELPAC SRRs can be found here: Item 04 and here: Item 04 Attachment 2.
California State Accountability System
Student Growth Model
While work has been delayed in many areas related to accountability, efforts do continue on the development of a student-level growth model. As previously mentioned, the Board directed the California Department of Education (CDE) to further explore a Residual Gain (RG) Model for possible inclusion in the Dashboard. The RG model describes student growth as the difference between the student’s current status and an expected status based on prior performance or scores; in other words, whether the student has fallen short of or exceeded expectations.
Over the last few months, Educational Testing Service (ETS) has been conducting simulations on the RG model to make technical adjustments to increase the model’s stability.
At the September hearing, ETS provided the Board with a deeper dive into the proposed methodology to stabilize the growth model, the Estimated Best Linear Predictor Model (EBLP). After the hearing, concerns were later raised about the challenges of explaining scores to schools and districts. As noted above, the RG methodology predicts a student’s score based on their prior year assessment results in both ELA and math. Balancing the model at the aggregate level, using the EBLP model, adds more complexity, making it more difficult for stakeholders to interpret results.
At the November hearing, the Board confirmed that the EBLP model will only use the same subject area when modeling student growth (i.e. only prior ELA results will be used for ELA growth scores). In addition, the Board maintained the current student-level methodology, which holds the same expectations for growth for all student groups and allows comparisons of student group data.
California Advisory Task Force on Alternative Schools
The Board was given a presentation from Dr. Jorge Ruiz de Velasco on the report and recommendations of the California Advisory Task Force on Alternative Schools, a joint venture with the Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities based at Stanford University and CDE.
The report, as well as additional detail on the development of the growth model can be found here: Revised Item 05.
Charter School Renewals
As you may recall, last year’s AB 1505 (Chapter 486, Statutes of 2019) made various changes to the Charter School Act, including the charter school appeal process. Specifically, the bill established a three-tier renewal process, where a charter school’s level of review for renewal is based on whether the charter is high, middle, or low performing according to California Dashboard data. For more information on this, CDE has created a flyer detailing how a charter school’s performance category is determined.
For middle or low performing charter schools seeking renewal, AB 1505 also requires an authorizer to consider “verified data,” defined as “data derived from nationally recognized, valid, peer-reviewed, and reliable sources that are externally produced,” as part of their review. The SBE is required to establish criteria to define verified data as well as adopt a list of assessments to be used for that purpose by January 1, 2021.
In order to develop a list of recommended assessments, CDE contracted with WestEd to conduct a review from July through October 2020 of possible sources that could be used as verified data. As part of this review, WestEd identified the assessments that were in wide use among charter schools by meeting with charter support organizations and surveying all the charter schools in the state. The identified assessments were then reviewed by multiple independent reviewers using a technical quality rubric.
As a result of its review, WestEd recommended 13 assessments for adoption by the Board. However, the recommended list was revised the day before the meeting to include CAASPP data after multiple written public comments, from both LEAs and charter schools, urged its inclusion. Therefore, at the November Meeting, the Board approved the following 14 assessments as sources of verified data:
  • mCLASS by Amplify
  • SAT Suite by College Board
  • iReady by Curriculum Associates
  • ELPAC by Educational Testing Service
  • Math Inventory by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Reading Inventory by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • FastBridge by Illuminate
  • Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) by Let’s Go Learn
  • Adaptive, Diagnostic Assessment of Mathematics (ADAM)/Diagnostic Online Math Assessment (DOMA) by Let’s Go Learn
  • RAPID by Lexia Learning
  • Measures of Academic Progress by NWEA
  • Star Assessments by Renaissance
  • easyCBM by Riverside Insights
  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics)
In an addendum to the item, CDE also revised the list’s effective date, stating that an authorizer would not be required to use the adopted list to review renewal petitions received before January 1, 2021 but that the list of verified data can be used before January 1 if there is agreement between the authorizer and the charter school.
AB 1505 also required verified data to include measures of postsecondary outcomes, and the Board approved the following Postsecondary Indicators:
  • Cal-PASS Plus High School to Community College Transition Report
  • California State University Enrollment Dashboard Student Origin
  • California Department of Education DataQuest College-Going Rate
  • National Student Clearinghouse StudentTracker
  • University of California Admissions by School Source
  • University of California Undergraduate Graduation Rates
When a few Board members expressed concern that the postsecondary measures focused on college and that there were no career measurements being recommended for adoption, CDE noted that because AB 1505 defines “postsecondary outcomes” as “college enrollment, persistence, and completion rates equal to similar peers,” it did not feel it had the authority to include non-college measures for adoption at this time.
CDE also stressed that while the law required the Board to adopt a list of verified data by January 1, 2021, it did not mean the list adopted at this month’s meeting was final. AB 1505 also gives the Board authority to revisit the list and make revisions as necessary.
For a list of the criteria to define verified data and the data use procedures also adopted by the Board as part of this item, as well as a more detailed overview of WestEd’s review process, see Item 14 and Item 14 Addendum.
The Board also heard a presentation on the Department’s other implementation efforts around AB 1505, as well as AB 1507 (Chapter 487, Statutes of 2019), a description of which can be found in the Other Items document under Item 13.
SBE Agenda Items and Waiver Requests
There were a number of other items, including several key appointments to the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools, the Advisory Commission on Special Education, the California Practitioners Advisory Group, and the Instructional Quality Commission. Information on those items can be found HERE. In addition, there were a number of WAIVERS discussed at the hearing.
The full SBE meeting agenda can be found here.
This report was written by Lee Angela Reid and Caitlin Jung. As always, if you have questions, or would like any additional information on any of the items, please contact us.
Thank you,
Lee Angela
Lee Angela Reid