Educational accountability in California is evolving to more comprehensively reflect and encourage student preparation for college and careers. The transition to the Local Control Funding Formula, and elimination of most categorical grant programs in the 2013-2014 State Budget, put greater emphasis on local decision-making over how money is spent to best serve students. Meanwhile, there is ongoing work to evolve the state-level accountability place greater emphasis on indicators of college and career readiness.  Below, we provide a summary of several key initiatives related to school accountability, as well as resources that assist in understanding the implications of these changes for Linked Learning.

Local Control and Accountability Plan

As districts across the state transition to the Local Control Funding Formula and develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), the linkages between student outcomes, program funding, and reporting requirements are more important than ever. Districts can identify and attain the eight priorities required in the LCAP through a unified strategy. In addition, the stakeholder engagement required for the LCAP can be an important process for creating the plan and rallying community action to realize its objectives.


Linked Learning Aligned Language for Local Control and Accountability Plans
Linked Learning can serve as an overarching strategy for the LCAP, addressing most – if not all – of the state’s priorities and for coordinating activities, expenditures, and services. Furthermore, districts’ strategies for implementing the Linked Learning approach can be informed and supported through the stakeholder engagement and goal setting processes that are required in the LCAP. Districts’ efforts to implement Linked Learning and meet LCAP requirements should be means to the same ends. The LCAP can meet these dual goals by re-evaluating funding and organizational practices with an eye towards a unified vision of college and career success for all students while taking into account the implications for teachers, administrators, counselors and other district staff.

Linked Learning and the Local Control and Accountability Plan: A Comprehensive Strategy to Support Student Success
This document provides guidance to districts on how to implement the Linked Learning approach as an overarching strategy for the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). This resource includes guidance on how Linked Learning can inform the reporting and stakeholder engagement requirements for the LCAP, and provides example activities and expenditures that would support this strategy.

Local Control Funding Formula
This section of the California Department of Education website provides further information and resources about Local Control Funding and the Local Control and Accountability Plan.

Presentation to the PSAA Committee by Linda Darling-Hammond and Christopher Cabaldon “Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System” highlighting findings published by Darling-Hammond.

Full Report: Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System

Academic Performance Index

As California’s primary accountability system, the Academic Performance Index (API) measures the performance and progress of a school or a local educational agency based on results of statewide assessments at grades two through twelve. Up until the 2013-2014 school year, the statewide assessments included results of the Standardized Reporting and Testing (STAR) and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) in the index. With the implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessments and Common Core State Standards, the STAR program will be replaced by the California Assessment of Performance and Progress (CAASPP) starting in the 2015-16 school year. Signed into law in 2012, SB 1458 (Steinberg) requires the State Board of Education to add high school graduation into the API, and to consider the inclusion of measures of college and career readiness. With these developments, the new API has the potential to include elements more reflective of college and career readiness, thereby relying less on standardized tests as the sole measure of student achievement and school performance.

On April 15th, 2014, the Executive Director of the Linked Learning Alliance, Christopher Cabaldon, was invited to speak before the Public School Accountability Act (PSAA) Advisory Committee. This body is tasked with providing recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding the Academic Performance Index. This presentation included an overview of existing indicators that reflect college and career readiness, and provided a framework for including college and career indicators in an equitable manner that recognizes multiple ways to succeed through multiple measures of readiness.


Success for All: Multiple Measures for College and Career Readiness
Full presentation made to the PSAA Advisory Committee.

Raising the Bar on College and Career Readiness: A Framework for Incorporating Multiple Measures into the Academic Performance Index
A framework document made to accompany the PSAA presentation and provide greater detail.

Success for All
Print-friendly version of the PSAA Advisory Committee Presentation.

Video of PSAA Webcast
The Linked Learning presentation begins at the 40-minute mark.

Public School Accountability Act Webpage
This section of the California Department of Education website provides a variety of resources, including meeting agenda, and archived videos and handouts of current and past PSAA Advisory Committee meetings.

SB 1458 Factsheet
This factsheet gives an overview of Senator Steinberg’s bill, which alters the elements to be included in the API, and establishes a timeline for implementing these changes.

SB 1458
A link to Senator Steinberg’s legislation as signed into law.

State Board of Education Meeting Letters and Testimonies

July 8, 2015
Testimony as prepared for Sasha Horwitz, LLA Government Affairs Director, on maintaining a College and Career Readiness indicator in the LCFF Evaluation Rubrics.

March 3, 2016
Letter to the State Board highlighting concerns with proposed staff recommendations that would shift the state away from its commitment to college and career readiness.

Testimony as prepared for Anna Fontus, LLA Policy Analyst.

May 11, 2016
Letter to the State Board urging them to reinstate a college and career readiness indicator, which was removed from the current staff recommendations for the new accountability system, and proposing specific alternatives.

Letter to the State Board by LLA Board Member David Stern identifying specific indicators for college and career readiness to be included in the new accountability system.