By John Fensterwald
Members of the State Board of Education who favor replacing the three-digit Academic Performance Index with a “dashboard” of measurements highlighting school performance can count on the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown.
The K-12 summary (pages 22-23) of Brown’s proposed 2016-17 state budget, released last week, stated, “The state system should include a concise set of performance measures, rather than a single index.” Brown said the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act creates the opportunity to design a “more accurate picture of school performance and progress” than in the past.
But whether the state should or even can switch, under the new federal law, from a single index like the API to a more complex school improvement system will be a potentially contentious issue this year. Both approaches to accountability, the dashboard with multiple measures – such as test scores, high school graduation rates and an indicator of student readiness for college and jobs – and a single index compiled from a mix of factors, have strong advocates.