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COVID-19 Accountability FAQs

Frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus and accountability.

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Frequently asked accountability questions related to COVID-19 and the approved streamlined federal waiver under the Elementary and Secondary Elementary Education Act.

2021 Accountability FAQs

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Did the California Department of Education (CDE) receive a federal waiver from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability requirements for the 2020–2021 school year?

Yes. On April 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) granted a waiver to the CDE for specific accountability and school identification requirements for the 2020–21 school year, that includes the following:

  • Removing the requirement to measure progress (i.e., as reported through the California School Dashboard),
  • Removing the 95 percent participation rate penalty for the Academic Indicator,
  • Removing the requirement to identify schools for support based on 2020–21 data,
  • Requiring schools that are currently identified for support to continue to receive support in the 2021–22 school year,
  • Allowing Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools to exit based on the graduation rate, if exit criteria are met, and
  • Requiring states to resume identification of schools in Fall 2022 using 2021–22 data.

While the ED has released California from producing data related to accountability, the waiver assures that the CDE is still required to publicly report specific data, such as:

  • Chronic absenteeism, and
  • Student and/or teacher access to technology, devices and high-speed internet, if available.

To access the ED's approval letter, please see the CDE Every Student Succeeds Act web page.

Does this federal waiver include assessments?

This waiver is specific to accountability. For the latest information on the 2021 Spring Assessment Administration, see the CDE COVID Assessment FAQs web page.

Does the 95 percent participation rate apply to the English Learner Progress Indicator?

No. Current guidance provided by the federal government on January 18, 2021, expects state educational agencies to administer their English language proficiency (ELP) assessment to 100 percent of their eligible English learners this academic year. States have the flexibility to extend their testing window and administer their ELP test remotely. California extended the testing window for the 2020–21 English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) summative assessment to July 30, 2021, to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) additional time to meet this requirement.

What is the status of the state requirements to produce a Dashboard?

In July 2021, the Governor signed Assembly Bill (AB) 130. Section 123 of AB 130 states that the CDE:​

  • Shall suspend the publication of the 2021 Dashboard​,
  • Shall report valid and reliable data collected that would have been included in the 2021 Dashboard, and
  • Shall publish local indicator data. However, performance determinations (i.e., Met, Not Met, Not Met for Two or More Years) will not be made.

When the CDE releases the 2021 Dashboard, it will include:

  • Enrollment Data. These data at the Local Education Agency (LEA), school, and student groups levels are reflective of the 2020 Census Day information that LEAs submitted and certified to the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). Note that at the LEA-level, the data excludes charter school data as they are treated as LEAs under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
  • Local Indicators. For the 2021 Dashboard, LEA Dashboard Coordinators were required to report local indicator data onto the Dashboard by October 15, 2021. For more information regarding local indicators, please view the CDE Local Indicators web page.
I understand that state indicators cannot be published on the 2021 Dashboard, but is CDE releasing any other data for 2021?


Yes. To meet the requirements under AB 130, and to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) with the development of their Local Control and Accountability Plans, the following data are being reported:

  • Suspension rates, expulsion rates, chronic absenteeism rates, absenteeism by reason reports, four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates and outcomes, five-year adjusted cohort graduation rates and outcomes, and stability rates are some of the 2020-21 data will be made available on DataQuest.
  • Combined four-and five-year graduation rates and the Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) graduation rates (which are typically reported in the Dashboard) will be made available in January 2022 on the School Dashboard and Additional Reports and Data web page.
  • Data related to the College/Career Indicator (CCI) will be made available in January 2022 on the School Dashboard and Additional Reports and Data web page.

Further details about the 2021 data release can be found on the COVID-19 and Data Reporting web page.

Can current comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) and additional targeted support and improvement (ATSI) schools exit in 2021 based on new data?

With the approval of the federal accountability waiver, CSI Low – Graduation schools will have an opportunity to exit based on graduation rate data from the 2018–19, 2019–20, and 2020–21 school years.

CSI – Low Performing and ATSI schools will remain in CSI/ATSI for the 2021–22 school year.

For more information about CSI Program and Funding related questions as a result of the waiver, please visit the CDE CSI web page. (select the Technical Assistance tab and view the Frequently Asked Questions)

Will Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) be identified for Differentiated Assistance in 2021?

No. In July 2021, the Governor signed AB 130 which removed the requirement to determine LEAs that are newly eligible for differentiated assistance in the 2021–22 school year. In addition, LEAs that are currently eligible for differentiated assistance will remain in place for the 2021–22 school year.

Please clarify what will be reported on the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) in terms of academics. Is the 95 percent participation part of the SARC?

The 95 percent participation rate is not required to be reported in the SARC. However, schools are required to report the number of students tested, percent tested, and percent of students not tested on the SARC.

Will we need to submit local indicators reports this year?

For 2021–22, local educational agencies are required to measure progress in the local indicators, report these results as part of a non-consent item at a regularly scheduled public meeting of the local governing board/body in conjunction with the adoption of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), and report results to the public through the Dashboard. However, as noted above, performance determinations (i.e., Met, Not Met, Not Met for Two or More Years) will not be made in the 2021 Dashboard. For additional information about the 2021–22 local indicator process please refer the California School Dashboard Local Indicator Process for 2021–22 (PDF) webinar posted on the Tuesdays @ 2 Web page or contact LCFF@cde.ca.gov.

Archived FAQs

To access the prior FAQs, visit the 2020 Covid-19 Accountability FAQs web page.

Questions: Academic Accountability Team | aau@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 2, 2022
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