Dashboard data means many more LEAs eligible for assistance
January 9, 2023
Thirty percent of California students were chronically absent in 2021-22, according to data from the California School Dashboard released on Dec. 15.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Department of Education restarted the Dashboard, a key component of the state’s school accountability system.
Data from the 2021-22 school year show improvements and declines. While the four-year “cohort” graduation rate climbed to 87 percent, up from 83.6 percent in 2020–21, the state’s chronic absenteeism rate increased from 14.3 percent in 2020-21 to 30 percent last school year.
ACSA’s Legislative Lunch Break on Dec. 15 helped put data from the 2021-22 year, which was impacted by educator shortages and COVID surges, into context.
“No one’s making excuses, per se. It’s acknowledging some of the factors that led to this,” said ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta on the broadcast. “Everybody in the system is motivated and I think everybody acknowledges that there’s work to do to really target some of the impact we saw on students over the pandemic. But I think that’s the key point — where do we go from now?”
The Dashboard includes the latest data on graduation rates, suspension rates, test scores, English learner progress, chronic absenteeism and local indicators. Data is also reported by student group, revealing disparities in outcomes for students based on race, socioeconomic status, disability and other factors. For this year only, performance was reported using one of five status levels, ranging from “very high” to “very low.”
If one student group is “very low” in at least two of the LCFF State Priority Areas, the LEA is eligible for differentiated assistance. According to the CDE, 628 LEAs will qualify for DA based on 2022 Dashboard data. There were 333 LEAs eligible for DA in 2019, according to data from CDE.
Many districts’ high chronic absenteeism rates can be attributed to COVID and and mandatory quarantines, said Lindsay Tornatore, director, Systems Improvement & Student Success with California County Superintendents, who was a guest on the Legislative Lunch Break program.
But Tornatore said there may be more to the chronic absenteeism story. She pointed to a survey of 28,000 students done by the Kern County Office of Education that revealed the top four reasons students were missing school: illness, not enough sleep, taking care of a family member and feelings of sadness, hopelessness or anxiety.
With many more LEAs eligible for differentiated assistance this year, Tornatore shared how DA works, its purpose, and illustrated its successes as well as factors that can disrupt improvement efforts.
“Being eligible for differentiated assistance is an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with your county office in a very customized approach that is based on your individual needs to help get to the root causes and make lasting systemic changes that will benefit and help your students,” she said.
Zazueta says he expects that the increase in LEAs eligible for assistance will be a one-time phenomenon as schools continue their work to close achievement gaps.
Additional Resources
  • Dashboard Communications Toolkit
  • LCFF Data files
  • ACSA 2022 CA School Dashboard video
Contact Us
© 2023 Association of California School Administrators