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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 21, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Steps for Ensuring Quality Data for High Stakes Purposes
Mid-Year Data Collection Update

The California Department of Education (CDE) would first like to congratulate local educational agencies (LEAs) in successfully certifying their 2020­−21 Fall submissions to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), while providing quality instruction and services in new ways to meet the diverse needs of both staff and students in a safe manner. The data LEAs certified as part of the Fall 1 submission form the basis for funding allocations pursuant to the Local Control Funding Formula and the $6.6 billion made available as part of the Assembly Bill 86 COVID-19 relief package. The data certified as part of the Fall 2 submission are being provided to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to monitor whether all of California’s public school teachers hold the appropriate credentials and authorizations to instruct students in their enrolled courses and are required for federal reporting. These data will also be publicly posted on DataQuest, used in the School Accountability Report Card, and the California School Dashboard (Dashboard) for Local Indicator Priority 1.

As we approach the end of the school year, our attention now turns to the CALPADS End-of-Year (EOY) submissions which open on May 10, 2021. The EOY submissions provide the bulk of the data used to develop the accountability indicators on the Dashboard and report student outcomes on DataQuest. While California has received a federal waiver from certain Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability requirements, the CDE must await statutory changes to align state accountability requirements by suspending the reporting of state indicators on the 2021 Dashboard. The CDE, however, anticipates that public reporting of the data will still be required, making LEA certification of all the 2020−21 EOY submissions a continued and important requirement which inform teaching and learning.

The CDE appreciates and applauds the dedication of the CALPADS Administrators and their staff to keep CALPADS up-to-date on an ongoing basis and to submit certified data by the deadlines. The CDE recognizes the increased responsibilities placed on CALPADS staff which requires the active involvement of many others, including those from human resources, curriculum and instruction, assessment and accountability, business offices, food services, and school sites. The active involvement of these staff is more critical than ever because CALPADS data impact numerous mission critical functions of your LEAs. Such functions include providing data for funding calculations, monitoring, and accountability, and functions that are high stakes for individual students, such as registering students for statewide testing or identifying students for receipt of Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits.

Executive Leadership Steps to Support Timely Submission of Quality Data

To help ensure the timely submission of quality data, executive leadership should solicit input and act on the suggestions from CALPADS Administrators for specific ways to improve data quality for your LEA and to support them and the staff they rely upon to manage and submit data to CALPADS. General steps that executive leadership can take to support CALPADS staff and ensure data quality include the following:

  • Regularly use data to inform decisions, and review business processes to ensure they are adequate to provide for the ongoing maintenance, use, and review of data.
  • Communicate broadly beyond CALPADS staff to all staff, including principals and site staff, that data plays a key role in mission critical functions and it is vital that they ensure local systems are updated in a timely fashion and that they carefully review CALPADS reports when requested to do so.
  • Ensure that processes are in place for curriculum and instruction staff to (1) review next year’s courses during the spring and summer, especially new courses, to ensure they are mapped to the appropriate state course codes and have appropriate course attributes, and (2) review that a-g courses are accurately reflected in the University of California’s Course Management Portal.
  • Support human resources staff and credential analysts to ensure that teachers have valid credentials and authorizations, and if needed, Temporary County Certificates and board-approved local assignment options that are valid prior to teachers beginning their assignments in the fall. This will reduce the number of potential mis-assignments identified during the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s assignment monitoring process which is based on the staff, course, and student course enrollment data submitted to CALPADS.
  • Ensure that the Special Education Data Coordinator and the CALPADS Administrator have developed and are following business processes that result in the alignment of special education data system (SEDS) and student information system (SIS) data.

Executive leadership should also be aware of new workload that LEAs are responsible for this spring, that requires leadership support:

  • LEAs will play a role in the administration of the P-EBT program which will provide over $4.5 billion benefits to eligible TK-12 students. In addition to regularly updating CALPADS, LEAs will be required to disseminate P-EBT benefit cards to homeless students at the school site or district office, and to extend the state’s campaign efforts in communicating about the program to eligible families. Administrative funding will be made available to support these activities. This effort will benefit from a team which includes nutrition services staff, homeless liaisons, school site staff, and CALPADS staff.
  • LEAs will be asked for the first time to submit student test results from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), to the new ASVAB Reporting System. The purpose of submitting this information is to provide the CDE with statewide data to analyze and evaluate in order to determine the validity and reliability of the data being recommended for inclusion in the College/Career Indicator (CCI) as reported on the Dashboard. These data are being collected to continue the CDE’s efforts in meeting the directive of the State Board of Education to expand the CCI with more career measures to better reflect the work of schools. This effort will benefit from a team which includes staff from school sites that administer the ASVAB and a district level coordinator that works with the CALPADS administrator.

Finally, the CDE fully recognizes its responsibility to continue to improve CALPADS system performance, and will be communicating upcoming changes to CALPADS staff later this spring. In the meantime, I thank you and your staff for continued efforts to serve California's students during these challenging times through the submission of quality data.

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact the CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office by phone at 916-324-6738 or by email at, or Glenn Miller, Administrator, by phone at 916-319-0529 or by email at


Jerry Winkler, Director
Educational Data Management Division


cc: CALPADS Administrators


Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 22, 2021

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