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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 the CDE specific accountability and school identification requirements for the 2020 – 21 school year, such as:

  • 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 ED's web page (PDF) External link opens in new window or tab.

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 has extended the testing window for the 2020–21 English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) summative assessment to July 30, 2021.

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

The CDE is working with the California State Legislature to align our federal and state accountability requirements including:​

  • Suspending the reporting of state indicators on the 2021 Dashboard​.
  • Suspending the requirement to identify new LEAs for Differentiated Assistance based on 2021 Dashboard data.
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 LEAs be identified for Differentiated Assistance in 2021?

This decision is pending action by the California State Legislature.

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?

The state accountability requirements have not been waived. 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 LCAP, and report results to the public through the Dashboard. Any change to this requirement will need action by the California State Legislature. 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

2020 Dashboard FAQs

Did the CDE receive a federal waiver from the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year?

Yes, on March 27, 2020, the CDE received final approval from the ED to waive the following ESSA requirements for the 2019–2020 school year:

  • Assessment requirements in section 1111(b)(2)
  • Accountability and school identification requirements in sections 1111(c)(4) and 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D); and
  • Reporting requirements related to assessments and accountability in section 1111(h) as enumerated in the template

A copy of the waiver submitted can be found on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) web page at Every Student Succeeds Act.

Was there a public comment period for California's waiver request?

Yes, the public comment period concluded on April 15, 2020. These comments were summarized in Item 3 at the May 2020 State Board of Education meeting.

What impact will the waiver have on the 2020 Dashboard?

The federal waiver releases the requirement for California to produce state indicators for the 2020 Dashboard. However, state law (Education Code Sections 52064.5 (f) and 52064.5 (e)(2) requires the CDE to produce a Dashboard. Additionally, EC sections 52071 and 47606.3(a) require the identification of districts and charter schools for differentiate assistance under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). However, in June 2020, the Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 98 which removed the requirement to determine local educational agencies (LEAs) that are eligible for differentiated assistance in the 2020–21 school year.

Did California waive the state requirement for the CDE to produce a 2020 Dashboard?

In June 2020, the Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 98.
Section 104 of SB 98 states the CDE:

  • Shall not publish state and local indicators in the 2020 Dashboard.
  • Shall not identify LEAs, which includes charter schools, during the 2020–21 school year for differentiated assistance. As a result, LEAs identified for support in 2019–20 will continue to receive differentiated assistance in 2020–21.
  • Shall identify LEAs for differentiated in December 2021, by using performance data on the state and local indicators from the December 2019 Dashboard and the December 2021 Dashboard.
Based on SB 98, how will the CDE calculate the 2021 Dashboard?

SB 98 directs the CDE to calculate the 2021 as follows:

Status: Based on 2021 data​

Change: Based on 2019 Dashboard data:​

2021 Statusminus2019 Status = Change​

Will the CDE identify new districts and charter schools for differentiated assistance?

No. In June 2020, the Governor signed SB 98 which removed the requirement to determine LEAs that are eligible for differentiated assistance in the 2020–21 school year. In addition, LEAs that are currently eligible for differentiated assistance will remain in place for the 2020–21 school year.

Will the CDE identify new schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI)?

No. The federal waiver removes the requirement to determine schools that are eligible for CSI or ATSI in the 2020–21 school year. In addition, schools that are currently eligible for CSI and ATSI will remain in place for the 2020–21 school year.

Will districts be required to submit California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) end-of-year data?

Yes, all local educational agencies are required to complete CALPADS end-of-year data submissions.

Are there any state indicators that will be impacted on the 2021 Dashboard due to the suspension of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) in spring of 2020?

Yes. The College/Career Indicator (CCI), which is based on the graduating class, will be impacted by the suspension of 2020 CAASPP testing. Those students slated for graduation in 2021 will not have grade 11 CAASPP results, which are used to determine CCI placement levels (e.g. Prepared, Approaching Prepared, Not Prepared) for several CCI measures. The CDE is reviewing how to address this issue for the 2021 Dashboard. Any changes to the CCI criteria will need to be approved by the SBE.

International Baccalaureate (IB) testing is also canceled. How will this impact the CCI placement determinations in the 2021 Dashboard?

CDE staff will explore using other measures in addition to IB test results to determine if students are prepared on the CCI. For example, the CDE is exploring whether an IB diploma could be used to demonstrate that students are prepared. Any changes to the CCI criteria would have to be approved by the SBE.

Questions: Academic Accountability Team | | 916-319-0863 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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