June 2016 Update on CCSA's Academic Accountability Work

June 16, 2016

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A Message from Malka Borrego, Chair, CCSA Member Council and Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Equitas Academy Charter School.

June 16, 2016

Dear California Charter School,

As Chair of the Member Council, I am pleased to provide you with an update on CCSA's academic accountability work.

Accountability matters to the California charter school movement and CCSA members (www.ccsa.org/accountability). Since 2009, CCSA's Member Council has led CCSA's accountability advocacy efforts for renewing and replicating charter schools, including the development of CCSA's Accountability Framework that sets Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria to measure academic performance of charter schools. Academic accountability is a key ingredient in the success of California's charter schools and the students they serve. Charter schools have thrived, in part, because clear minimum performance standards have created an environment of freedom and autonomy in exchange for accountability, where high performing charter schools have flourished and many underperforming schools have closed.

CCSA's straightforward and transparent Accountability Framework provides all charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance, and also helps present a clear picture of the performance continuum across the entire movement.

CCSA's Member Council and Board have approved a finalized Accountability Framework and associated Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria, aligned to Common Core and postsecondary readiness measures. The framework is set for full implementation beginning in 2016-17. As with the prior framework, charter schools performing above these Minimum Criteria meet the academic threshold for CCSA's full advocacy support. CCSA opposes the renewal and replication of charter schools performing below this framework. You can learn more about the development and components of this framework at www.ccsa.org/accountability.

This fall, CCSA will publicly release Academic Accountability Report Cards displaying results for every school statewide on CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria. Please be on the lookout for an email communicating the release of these reports that will be posted on on our website: snapshots.ccsa.org.

CCSA's Academic Accountability Framework

Learn more, visit www.ccsa.org/accountability.

While there are many important aspects to measuring the performance of a charter school, CCSA believes student academic outcomes should be the single most important measure of a school's success at the time of charter renewal or replication. CCSA's Accountability Framework is made up of two parts - an initial review of state test score performance and then a Multiple Measures Review.

Below is the finalized 2016-17 CCSA Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria for renewing and replicating charter schools.

Charter schools that meet ANY ONE of the initial filters OR demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review meet the academic threshold to receive CCSA's full advocacy support for renewal or replication. CCSA opposes renewal and replication for schools that perform below ALL initial filters AND that do not demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review.

Initial Filters

Three measures of state test scores and postsecondary readiness serve as "initial filters":

1) Status measure: Above 40th percentile on SBAC

  • Additionally, schools performing in the bottom 5th percentile need to participate in CCSA's Multiple Measure Review before receiving CCSA's advocacy support for renewal or replication
  • CCSA uses a weighted average of SBAC scale scores measuring how far the average student is above/below the "Met" standard and ranked 0-100th percentile statewide.

2) Growth/ Postsecondary readiness

  • Elementary/middle schools: Growth over time on SBAC
    (Will be finalized in 2016-17, we recommend looking at 2015-16 APD minus 2014-15 APD and identifying a percentile at which schools with high year-over-year growth qualify for CCSA's support)
  • High schools: 75% or more of 12th grade graduates completing all "a-g" requirements

3) Similar Students: "Within or above predicted" on either of the last two years on CCSA's Similar Students Measure (measures how schools are performing with similar students across the state)

Multiple Measure Review

Schools below ALL the initial filters or in the bottom 5% statewide on SBAC can share outcomes aligned to California's 8 state priorities as described in the school's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Schools can tell their own story of success by choosing measures most closely aligned to their mission.

CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria would not apply if a school is ASAM/Alternative, less than four years old, or has less than 30 valid test takers.

CCSA's Member Council (click here to find your Member Council Representative) and Board believe continued leadership on academic accountability demonstrates that California's charter schools are serious about ensuring they improve learning and creates significantly better learning opportunities for all students.

The state is working towards adopting its own accountability framework that brings together local, state and federal accountability requirements. CCSA staff and the Member Council will therefore remain agile to consider future adjustments to CCSA's framework. We will work to be as aligned as we can to what the state is developing, while considering the impacts on charter renewal (intended and unintended) of the state's emerging system.

Ultimately we want to ensure charter schools have clear, fair renewal standards statewide that ensure quality charter schools are renewed without undue burden and chronically underperforming charter schools are closed, in keeping with the promise of autonomy in exchange for accountability. Until the state adopts an accountability system, it is in the charter sector's best interest to demonstrate leadership on this issue.

If you have questions about CCSA's accountability work, please contact accountability@ccsa.org or visit CCSA's website for more details about the Accountability Framework.


Malka Borrego
Chair, CCSA Member Council
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Equitas Academy Charter School