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FAQs for 2015 Accountability

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) posed by schools, districts, and the public.


Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)

  1. What reports are contained in the 2015 APR?

    The 2015 APR will include the:

    • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports for all schools and local educational agencies (LEAs),
    • Program Improvement (PI) reports for all Title I, Part A-funded schools and LEAs, and
    • Cohort graduation rate reports for all schools and LEAs that had grade twelve enrollment or at least one graduate in the 2013–14 graduation cohort.

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Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

  1. I thought that AYP was not going to be calculated this year because we only have baseline results of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Is my school’s AYP Report based on the first results from the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments?

    No. The AYP Report used only the participation information from the 2015 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments and California Alternate Assessment Field Test, not the assessment results. The results from the assessments will be displayed within the percent proficient but will not be used for AYP determinations. (See question 4 [below] for further details on the display of the percent proficient data.)

  2. What AYP indicators are schools and LEAs responsible for meeting for the 2015 AYP?

    • Participation Rate: The target is 95 percent and the participation rates are calculated for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. The data used to calculate the participation rates was based on the percentage of students enrolled during the time of testing and participated in either the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments or the California Alternate Assessment Field Test. This indicator is required for all schools and LEAs. (See question 5 [below] for further details on the use of the California Alternate Assessment Field Test, and questions 6 and 7 [below] for further details on the calculation of the participation rate.)

    • Attendance Rate: The target is 90 percent; this indicator is only applicable for schools or LEAs that enrolled 30 or more students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade eight (TK–8) on Fall Census Day. The attendance data used to calculate the rate are based on data submitted to the California Department of Education (CDE) by LEAs or direct-funded charter schools. (See questions 8 and 9 [below] for further details on the attendance rate.)

    • Graduation Rate: The target is 90 percent; this indicator is only applicable for schools or LEAs that have grade twelve enrollment or at least one graduate in the graduation cohort.

    • Percent Proficient: Please note that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) granted California a one-year waiver that allows AYP determinations to exclude the percent proficient. As a result, schools and LEAs are not responsible for meeting the percent proficient target. (See question 4 [below] for further details on the percent proficient.)

  3. I thought that California received a one-year waiver from the ED allowing percent proficient data to not be used. Why are percent proficient data on my district’s AYP Report?

    As noted earlier, California did receive a one-year waiver from the ED that allows AYP determinations to exclude the percent proficient. However, the ED is requiring California to display the percent proficient data on the AYP Report.

  4. Are results from the California Alternate Assessment Field Test being incorporated in the 2015 AYP Report?

    The ED has required the California Alternate Assessment Field Test to be included in the calculation of the ELA and mathematics participation rates. Students who were enrolled during the testing window and participated in the field test were captured in both the numerator and denominator of the participation rate. (See questions 6 and 7 [below] for further details on the calculation of the participation rates.)

    However, because the California Alternate Assessment Field Test did not yield any results, this assessment was not included in the calculation of the percent proficient.

  5. How is the participation rate calculated?

    The denominator includes all students who were enrolled during a school’s testing window. The numerator includes all enrolled students who participated in the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments or the California Alternate Assessment Field Test.

    To be counted as a “participant”, a student must have at least logged on to both the computer adaptive test (CAT) and performance task (PT) for each content area activity.

    See question 7 (below) regarding additional rules to calculating the participation rate.

  6. I had students who transferred in or out during my school’s testing window. Which of these students are included in my school’s participation rate?

    First, keep in mind that for AYP purposes, a school’s testing window begins when the first student at the school completes a CAT or PT (in either content area) and ends on the last day of the academic year. As a result, some school’s testing windows may span up to 12 weeks. Because some students may transfer in or out during the long testing window, grace periods were developed to hold schools harmless for not administering the assessments to these students. Depending upon the length of a school’s testing window, one or two grace periods may be applied at the beginning and/or end of a testing window.

    The general rules are as follows:

    • A student who had not yet tested and transferred out during the beginning grace period is not included in a school’s participation rate (i.e., the school is not held responsible for testing the student). The "beginning grace period" is one that is applied at the start of the testing window.

    • A student who transferred in during the ending grace period is also not included in a school’s participation rate (i.e., the school is not held responsible for testing the student). The "ending grace period" is one that is applied at the end of the testing window.


    Specific information and examples of grace periods and when a transferring student is included or excluded from a school’s participation rate are in the "Requirement 1: Participation Rate" section of the AYP Information Guide posted on the CDE AYP Web page.

  7. My school enrolls students from grades seven through twelve. I can understand the requirement to meet the graduation rate, but why am I seeing the attendance rate reported on my school’s AYP Report? 

    All schools that met the following criteria are held accountable for meeting the attendance rate target:

    1. The school’s entire enrollment was 100 or more on Fall Census Day in October 2014, and the enrollment in TK through grade 8 was 30 or more

    2. The school’s entire enrollment was between 30 to 99 on Fall Census Day in October 2014, and the enrollment in TK through grade 8 was 30 or more, or the percent of TK through grade 8 enrollment made up 50 percent or more of the school's enrollment

    (See the information in question 9 [below] for further details regarding the attendance rate indicator.)

  8. What data are the attendance rates based on, and what is the attendance rate target?

    The attendance rates were calculated using the attendance data collected from LEAs and direct-funded charter schools. LEAs and direct-funded charter schools had two options for submitting attendance data to the CDE:

    • Option 1: Submit the total number of days attended and enrolled for all students (for each school site) as of the second period (P-2), which is from July 1 through the last school month that ends on or before April 15, or

    • Option 2: Submit P-2 average daily attendance (ADA) for each school site.


    The attendance rate target is 90 percent as approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) at their September 2015 meeting.

  9. Are the grades five, eight, and ten California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) science results incorporated in the 2015 AYP reports?

    No. As in prior reporting years, AYP is based only on the ELA and mathematics content areas. Science results have never been used for AYP.

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Program Improvement (PI)

  1. Will schools and LEAs identified for PI last year carry forward their PI status this year?  

    No. All schools and LEAs that received Title I, Part A funds during the 2014–15 school year and were identified as "In PI" on the 2014–15 PI Report will receive a 2015–16 PI Report based on their performance on the 2015 AYP.

  2. My middle school did not receive an AYP Report last year and our PI Report last year stated that we were "Not in PI." However, our PI Report for this year indicates that my school has been newly identified as in Year 1 of PI. How is this possible when we did not receive an AYP Report last year?

    Last year, elementary and middle schools did not receive AYP reports. Any of these schools that were Title I, Part A-funded in 2013–14 carried over their PI status in 2014–15.

    For this year, the 2013 and 2015 AYP reports were used to determine the 2015–16 PI status and placement for schools that:

    • Did not receive a 2014 AYP Report,
    • Were not in PI in 2014–15, and
    • Received Title I, Part A funds for 2012–13, 2013–14, and 2014–15

    As a result, your school was newly identified as in Year 1 of PI because your school did not make AYP in the same subject area (ELA or mathematics) or on the same indicator (graduation rate) in 2013 and 2015.

  3. The PI Report for my school stated that we advanced from Year 2 to Year 3 of PI. I thought that schools could not advance in PI based on performance on the 2015 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Why did our school advance in PI?

    The 2015 AYP Report was used to make PI determinations for any school that received Title I, Part A funds in 2014–15. If the school was in PI last year, the possible PI outcomes for 2015–16 are that the school will: (1) maintain or advance in PI placement year or (2) exit from PI at the end of 2014–15. All schools were responsible for meeting the participation rate in each content area, ELA and mathematics, on the 2015 AYP. In addition, the attendance rate criteria must be met by any school that enrolled 30 or more students in TK–8 on Fall Census Day. The graduation rate criteria must be met by any school with grade twelve enrollment or at least one graduate in the graduation cohort. Any Title I, Part A-funded school that was in PI in 2014–15 that missed any requirement on the 2015 AYP advanced in PI for 2015–16. (See question 8 [above] for the full attendance criteria.)

  4. My LEA has been Title I, Part A-funded for the past three years. The LEA is a unified school district that did not receive an AYP Report in 2014, was not in PI last year, and failed to make AYP in the mathematics content area in both 2013 and 2015. Why is my LEA not in Year 1 of PI for 2015–16?

    For an LEA to be first identified for PI, it must:

    • Fail to make AYP for two reporting cycles in the same content area (ELA or mathematics) LEA-wide or for any numerically significant student group, and

    • Fail to meet the AYP criteria for the same content area in each applicable grade span (elementary, middle, and/or high) for two reporting cycles, or fail to make AYP on the same indicator (graduation rate) LEA-wide or for any numerically significant student group for two reporting cycles.

    If your LEA did not enter PI Year 1 for 2015–16, it must have met AYP in the mathematics content area in at least one grade span for 2013 or 2015.

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Academic Performance Index (API)

  1. Why is the 2015 Growth API Report not included as part of the 2015 APR?

    California’s education system went through landmark changes in 2014 with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the transition to a new testing system, and the shift to develop a new state accountability system. Given these changes, at the March 2015 meeting, the SBE approved the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (SSPI’s) recommendation to not calculate the following API reports:

    • 2014 Base API
    • 2015 Growth API
    • 2015 Base API

    As a result of suspending the APIs, the SBE also approved the removal of the API as an additional indicator for all schools for AYP reporting purposes. (See question 3 [above] for the indicators required for the 2015 AYP.)

  2. I had heard that California is developing a new state accountability system. What is the current status? Is there a place online that I can access so that I stay apprised of the latest information?

    The CDE and the SBE are currently developing a new state accountability system and information has, and will continue to be, discussed at SBE meetings. Past and future agenda items on this topic can be accessed on the SBE Current and Past Agendas Web page.

    In addition, the SSPI has convened an Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement. This Task Force is responsible for providing the SSPI with recommendations for a new California system of education accountability and continuous improvement. These recommendations will be presented to the SBE in spring 2016. Additional information is available on the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Task Force Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

  3. I know that ranking data were not produced last year, but will ranking data ever be released again?

    Effective July 1, 2013, California Education Code Section 52056(a) requiring API ranking of schools was repealed. As a result, beginning in 2014, statewide and similar schools ranks are longer produced.

    The final statewide and similar schools ranks were produced based on the 2013 Growth API data and reported within the 2013 Growth API reports.

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Questions: Academic Accountability Team | aau@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 24, 2017