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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
October 22, 2018

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

2018–19 Data Collections: Annual Back-to-School Letter

This fall, the California School Dashboard (Dashboard) will include accountability indicators based on data from the just completed school year, facilitating effective development of local educational agency (LEA) Local Control and Accountability Plans. We also appreciate the LEA leadership and the hard work and dedication of LEA staff for the timely submission of their upcoming 2018–19 data. The importance of LEA leadership in data management and their role in reporting accurate data is imperative, especially given the high stakes use of the submitted data in the Dashboard. Additionally, external entities are increasingly requesting these data to conduct important research studies that inform educational policy and practice.

This letter kicks off the 2018–19 data collection season for the following major data collections:

  • California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)
  • California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS)
  • Consolidated Application and Reporting System (CARS)

The 2018–19 certification and amendment window deadlines for these data collections are posted on the California Department of Education (CDE) CALPADS, CBEDS-ORA, and CARS Submission Calendar web page at It should be noted that the deadlines for the CALPADS Fall 1 and 2 submissions are still being determined to accommodate the recent transition of CALPADS to a new physical location, security model, and user interface. The new deadlines will be announced in a few weeks. LEAs are reminded that certified data from Fall 1 will be used to calculate LEAs’ funding under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) concentration and supplemental grant funding. There will be no opportunities to amend these data for the LCFF grants after the final Fall 1 deadline, except through the audit process.


In early October, CALPADS re-opened in a new physical location which enables the use of cloud computing technology which will more easily allow for future enhancements. CALPADS also has an updated user interface, streamlined navigation, and redesigned security model to accommodate business needs. The CDE thanks the LEAs who participated in User Acceptance Testing of the upgraded system, and appreciates the patience of all LEAs during the transition which required all CALPADS LEA Administrators to get new accounts. In order to receive an account in the new system, CALPADS LEA administrators were also required to have current applications on file with the CDE, and moving forward to ensure security, CALPADS LEA Administrators will be required to annually renew their applications, which require signoff by their Superintendent.

During the coming year, there are three areas that require executive leadership:

  • Ensuring Quality Discipline Data: It is important that LEAs report all incidents in which a statutory offense is committed, regardless if it results in a disciplinary action of suspension or expulsion. This means that LEAs are required to report incidents that result in “other means of correction” as outlined in California Education Code (EC) Section 48900.5, or incidents that result in “teacher suspensions” as authorized by EC Section 48910. It should be noted that incidents that result in “other means of correction” are not included in the Suspension rate posted on DataQuest or used for the Dashboard. In fact, reporting “other means of correction” shows that a school is implementing alternatives to suspension and that students are not missing instructional time. To ensure that LEAs are reporting all incidents, it is important that clear policies and procedures are in place and that all site staff are informed and trained.
  • California Special Education Management Information System (CASEMIS) Transition to CALPADS: The CDE will be transitioning the CASEMIS to CALPADS in 2019–20 in order to streamline the data collections and increase data quality. To help ensure a successful transition for your LEA, it is critical that staff who maintain the LEA’s special education data system and staff who maintain the LEA’s student information system work together to ensure that the data in the two systems match. An automated integration of these two systems in your LEA would be the most efficient and effective solution. Short of an automated solution, it is important that LEAs have clear business processes in place which results in alignment of these data.
  • Fall 2 Data Used for Assignment Monitoring: Beginning in 2019–20, the assignments of all certificated staff submitted as part of the Fall 2 data submission will be monitored to ensure they have the appropriate credentials and authorizations. The Fall 2 assignment data certified in CALPADS will be provided to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) who will identify misassignments. The results will be used to meet both state and federal reporting requirements. The CDE is currently updating the CALPADS state course codes to facilitate this new process. LEAs can prepare for this new use of CALPADS data by accurately mapping local course codes into existing state course codes. A recent analysis of the data found that many LEAs are mapping, for example, thousands of local English language art courses into “Other English Course.” LEA curriculum staff should lead the mapping effort rather than data staff.

Along with the specific items cited above, the active involvement of superintendents and charter school administrators in ensuring the accuracy of the data submitted to CALPADS is absolutely critical because the data are used to:

  • Determine state funding for the supplemental and concentration grants under the LCFF.
  • Determine a number of the statewide performance indicators displayed on the Dashboard.
  • Register students for statewide assessments.
  • Facilitate compliance monitoring with state and federal law.
  • Provide the public with information about California’s K–12 public schools, through posting on DataQuest.
  • Provide the research community with data that inform K–12 policy and practice.

For most of these data, once certified, there is no opportunity to change them. For data related to fiscal calculations, adjustments can only occur through the audit process. Therefore, it is important for LEAs to certify accurate data, which superintendents and charter school administrators can help ensure by:

  • Communicating the importance of data and data quality to the organization.
  • Using data locally for decision-making and monitoring.
  • Ensuring that business processes are in place and consistent data management practices are followed that focus on having accurate data available when it is needed for local use or state reporting.
  • Allocating adequate staff resources for the timely collection, reporting, verification, and use of accurate data.
  • Holding staff accountable for successfully completing their data management responsibilities.

Key points to ensuring that accurate data are submitted to CALPADS

  • Keep CALPADS updated on a regular basis. If routinely updating CALPADS, especially with enrollment and exit data, is not already a part of the LEA’s local business practices, steps should be taken to begin this practice, because:
  • Data are pulled from CALPADS on a daily basis for both interim and summative Smarter Balanced test registration, and for the English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC). 
  • Data are pulled at announced times to develop accountability metrics, such as the four-year graduation cohort rate.
  • Regular updates by all LEAs ensures that information on transferring students is available on a timely basis, thus enabling schools to appropriately serve those students.
  • It helps to ensure that all enrollments are captured, which is important in determining a school’s or LEA’s cumulative enrollment count which is used in the calculation of suspension, chronic absenteeism, and mobility rates.
  • Carefully review certification reports to ensure accuracy. Superintendents and charter school administrators are responsible for the CALPADS data that are used for fiscal and accountability purposes:
  • Fall 1 includes the data used to determine the supplemental and concentration grants under the LCFF.
  • Fall 2 includes data that are used to determine whether an LEA requires monitoring for the provision of services to English learners.
  • End-of-Year (EOY) 1 and 3 include data used to calculate statewide performance indicators, including the Suspension Rate, Chronic Absenteeism, and the College/Career Indicator, displayed publicly on the Dashboard and DataQuest.
  • The Cohort Operational Data Store (ODS) pull includes the data that will be used to calculate the 4-year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) and the one-year Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) graduation rate. There is now a report in CALPADS that enables LEAs to see their ACGR prior to the data pull, which reflects what will be displayed on the Dashboard.

Other Updates and Educational Data Management

The Changes to the Fall 2018 and 2019 California Basic Educational Data System Data Collections letter, dated April 3, 2018, highlights changes to the CBEDS collection. The letter is available on the CDE CBEDS web page, under the “Correspondence” heading, at

The 2018–19 Consolidated Application Program Guidance and Instructions are available in the “What’s New” section of the CDE Consolidated Application web page at

Through the Educational Data Governance (EDGO) program, the CDE continues to engage in activities aimed to support LEA data management efforts. Among other things, EDGO activities have resulted in the CDE’s participation in regional data privacy training sessions for LEAs, and implementation of a formal, public-facing system for data requests. For LEAs who are interested, data governance resources are now available on the CDE’s EDGO web page: LEAs are also encouraged to follow @cdeprivacy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and to visit the CDE Data Privacy web page at for resources and information on data privacy mandates and best practices.

In Summary

Thank you in advance for your efforts in submitting quality and timely data to the CDE. I appreciate your ongoing support of your staff, particularly LEA CALPADS Administrators and their staff, who through their work are playing a key role in so many critical functions. We look forward to working with your staff to submit data throughout the year.

Keeping CALPADS updated with student enrollments and exits, and certifying accurate data during the submission windows, has become increasingly important because of the use of the data in mission critical functions and for high stakes purposes. Please remember that there is no opportunity for LEAs to revise data once the final certification or ODS pull deadlines have passed.

If you have questions, please contact Karen Almquist, Education Administrator, CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office, by phone at 916-319-0529 or by e-mail at [The preceding email address is no longer valid. Karen Singh, formerly Karen Almquist, may be reached by email at]



Keric Ashley, Deputy Superintendent
Performance, Planning, and Technology Branch


cc: LEA CALPADS Administrators

Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 26, 2019

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