BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    ”



                                                                  AB 180
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          Date of Hearing:   March 16, 2011

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                  AB 180 (Carter) - As Introduced:  January 24, 2011
           
          SUBJECT  :   Education: academic performance

           SUMMARY  :   Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction 
          (SPI) and the State Board of Education (SBE) to allow dropout 
          recovery high schools (DRHS) to report the results of an 
          individual pupil growth model, meeting specified criteria, in 
          lieu of other indicators under the Public School Performance 
          Accountability Program.   Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Makes Legislative findings and declarations concerning the 
            benefits of DRHS and of reducing school dropouts, the 
            challenges that DRHS face, the characteristics of successful 
            dropout recovery schools, and the difficulty in assessing 
            dropouts using standardized testing.

          2)Requires the SPI and SBE, as part of the Public School 
            Performance Accountability Program and in lieu of other 
            reported indicators, to allow a DRHS to report the results of 
            an individual pupil growth model that is proposed by the 
            school and certified by the SPI.

          3)Requires the SPI to review the individual pupil growth model 
            proposed by the school and to certify that model if it: 

             a)   Is based on valid and reliable nationally normed or 
               criterion-referenced reading and mathematics tests.

             b)   Measures skills and knowledge aligned with state 
               standards.

             c)   Measures a pupil's score against expected growth over 
               time.

             d)   Demonstrates the extent to which a school is able to 
               accelerate learning on an annual basis.

          4)Defines a "dropout recovery high school" to be a high school 
            where at least 50% of the enrollees are dropouts pursuant to 
            California Department of Education (CDE) designations, and 








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            where the school provides instruction under the federal 
            Workforce Investment Act, federal Youthbuild programs, federal 
            job corps, or the California Conservation Corps.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires the SPI, with the approval of the SBE, to develop and 
            implement the Academic Performance Index (API) to measure the 
            performance of schools, and to include a variety of 
            indicators, including achievement test results, attendance 
            rates, and graduation rates in that measure.

          2)Requires the SPI to establish an advisory committee to provide 
            advice on all appropriate matters relative to the creation of 
            the API.

          3)Directs the advisory committee by July 1, 2005, to make 
            recommendations to the SPI on the appropriateness and 
            feasibility of a methodology for generating a measurement of 
            academic performance by using unique pupil identifiers and 
            annual academic achievement growth to provide a more accurate 
            measure of a school's growth over time.

          4)Requires the SPI, with the approval of the state board, to 
            develop an alternative accountability system that may be used 
            for schools under the jurisdiction of a county board of 
            education or a county superintendent of schools, community day 
            schools, nonpublic, nonsectarian schools, and alternative 
            schools serving high-risk pupils, including continuation high 
            schools and opportunity schools. 

          5)Authorizes schools in the alternative accountability system to 
            receive an API score, but prohibits the inclusion of those 
            schools in API rankings.

          6)Defines DRHS, for the purposes of prohibiting the inclusion of 
            graduation rates in the API and for calculating "full year" 
            dropout rates, to mean a high school in which 50% or more of 
            its pupils have been designated as dropouts pursuant to the 
            exit/withdrawal codes developed by the CDE.

          7)Establishes the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) 
            Program to test academic skills in grades 2-11, and to report 
            individual and aggregate results.









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           FISCAL EFFECT  :    In a substantially similar bill carried by 
          this author in the prior session, the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee found that the bill created General Fund 
          administrative costs, likely less than $100,000, to the 
          California Department of Education to review and recommend 
          approval to the SBE of an individual growth model for DRHS, as 
          specified.

           COMMENTS  :   Current law requires the SPI to develop and 
          administer the school accountability system which assigns each 
          school a score on the API that is based on measures of 
          performance that are aggregated for all students in that school. 
           Only achievement test results are currently incorporated into 
          the API; however, having an API that focuses solely on 
          achievement test results is overly narrow and does not reflect 
          information about student outcomes (e.g., dropout and graduation 
          rates, college readiness, preparation for the workplace) that is 
          important in measuring the performance of districts, schools and 
          subgroups.  As a perverse example of this shortcoming, decreases 
          in a school's graduation rate due to increases in dropouts could 
          easily lead to an increase in test scores (based on the 
          remaining students) and an increase in the API for a given 
          school or district; clearly this API increase would not be 
          reflective of an increase in the performance of that school or 
          district.  The Legislature foresaw this issue when it authorized 
          the API in 1999 to be a broad-based measure of school and 
          district performance based on a variety of indicators, 
          including, but not limited to, achievement test results, 
          attendance rates, and graduation rates.

          Opponents of including anything other than results on the 
          state's achievement test results in the API argue that including 
          data on other assessments, dropouts, graduation rates, and other 
          non-testing dimensions of educational performance will both 
          dilute the meaning of the API and skew its emphasis toward high 
          schools, resulting in the focusing of more resources at that 
          level to the detriment of elementary and middle schools.  The 
          dilution argument assumes that state achievement test results 
          incorporate and reflect all aspects of school performance, or at 
          least the only important aspect; the increasing incidence of 
          high achieving pupils dropping out of high school is a counter 
          example to the claim that test scores alone show how well a 
          school is serving its pupils.

          Since the reliability of an API score based on small numbers of 








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          pupil test scores is questionable, current law instructs the SPI 
          to compute an API score for schools with less than 100 pupil 
          scores, but to not include the school's API in state rankings.  
          Similarly, the API scores of community schools, continuation 
          high schools and non-public schools that serve special education 
          pupils are not considered reliable due to both small numbers of 
          scores and the fact that most pupils are placed in the schools 
          for less than a year.  Accordingly, the SPI is directed in 
          current law to develop an alternative accountability system 
          under which these schools may receive an API score, but are not 
          included in API rankings.  The Alternative Schools 
          Accountability Model (ASAM) is the alternative system developed 
          by the SPI for this purpose.

          According to the author, this bill will support DRHS ability to 
          serve students who "often are far below grade level standards 
          and re-enter seeking to complete their diploma in a shorter 
          period of time than necessary in the traditional high school.  
          Additionally, even after enrollment, their active engagement in 
          a school setting can take months.  Most standardized tests do 
          not measure individual student performance over time and 
          therefore, and open entry exit education does not align with 
          once-a-year testing.  In contrast, an individual growth model 
          can demonstrate the learning gains of a student to assess the 
          value of the school's instructional program."   The author also 
          states that fewer "than 8,000 recovered dropout students 
          enrolled in Federal or State job training programs are estimated 
          to be ›enrolled in dropout recovery high schools and] eligible 
          for this alternative." 

          The DRHS targeted in this bill are small in number and have a 
          student population (effectively dropouts who are re-enrolling in 
          an alternative school and jobs program) that is relatively 
          unique, even among alternative school populations.  For example, 
          rapid turnover of pupil populations and short stays by students 
          are common across many alternative programs, but DRHS typically 
          have students who will enroll and dis-enroll through multiple 
          cycles during the school year; the instructional program is also 
          individually tailored to help speed-up the pupil's progress 
          toward completion of the program in the short time that they may 
          be enrolled.  Between small populations, enrollment cycling and 
          tailored instruction, any measure that either provides a 
          point-in-time snapshot of student performance or that is 
          aggregated across a cohort of students may have absolutely no 
          meaning with respect to the school's student population at the 








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          time that the results of that measure are reported, since those 
          results may not apply to any of the pupils enrolled in the 
          school at that time.  In these cases measuring the growth of 
          individual pupils without aggregating those results and building 
          an accountability model that is individually based and tailored 
          to that school, rather than based on the aggregate performance 
          of a cohort of pupils, may more appropriately reflect the 
          progress that a DRHS is making.  

          The state does not have such a tailored individual growth model 
          for each school, and building such models at the state level 
          would not be cost effective; a reasonable solution to this 
          problem is to authorize this small group of schools to report 
          pupil results from their own individual pupil-based 
          accountability model in lieu of other required indicators.  
          According to the bill's sponsor, this bill will strengthen ASAM 
          by allowing that alternative model to address the accountability 
          needs of the small community of DRHS.  The bill specifies 
          certain conditions that the model must meet in order to be 
          certified by the SPI to be used by the DRHS.

          It should be noted that the Department of Finance, in its April 
          2010 Budget Letters to the Legislature, proposed the elimination 
          of all federal funding supporting ASAM "in favor of folding 
          alternative schools into existing federal accountability 
          reporting"  It did not appear that this proposal would result in 
          appropriate accountability measures being applied to alternative 
          schools in California, and thus contradicted the Legislature's 
          earlier action to require the SPI to develop and implement an 
          alternative accountability system for those schools.  The 
          Legislature appropriated funding for ASAM for the 2010-11 fiscal 
          year; however, the former Governor vetoed that appropriation.  

          It should also be noted that the CDE had begun a process for 
          revising the current ASAM so as to make it more rigorous, 
          academically-based and comparable across sites pursuant to a 
          conceptual framework approved by the SBE.  According to the CDE 
          plan, the revised ASAM would have started operating in the 
          current, 2010-11, school year.  Due to the Governor's veto, 
          however, the CDE eliminated reporting for the 2009-10 ASAM cycle 
          and stopped all work on the revised ASAM.  Under the continuing 
          statutory authority for ASAM and with existing resources, CDE will 
          continue designating schools as ASAM if the school meets the 
          established criteria, provide all ASAM schools API reports under 
          the API system, and continue to provide assigned graduation rates 








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          for ASAM schools for federal account purposes.

          Committee amendments:  Committee staff recommends, and the 
          author has accepted, an amendment to remove the tautology that 
          is created by defining a "dropout recovery  high school  " to be a 
           high school  with specific characteristics.  For clarification 
          this definition should instead reference a school offering 
          instruction in any of grades 9 through 12 and having those 
          specific characteristics.

          Previous legislation:  AB 2013 (Arambula), held in the Assembly 
          Appropriations Committee in 2010, includes independent study 
          programs in the alternative accountability system established by 
          the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), requires all 
          alternative schools serving high-risk pupils to participate in 
          the alternative accountability system, regardless of the 
          percentage of high-risk pupils enrolled, and requires the 
          alternative accountability system to meet various specified 
          components.  SB 219 (Steinberg), Chapter 731, Statutes of 2007, 
          makes changes in the calculation of and in the process for 
          revising the API.  AB 400 (Nunez), vetoed in 2007, would have 
          required the incorporation of additional measures of performance 
          into the API, including the rate at which pupils are offered a 
          course of study that fulfills University of California and 
          California State University admission requirements.  AB 2167 
          (Arambula), Chapter 743, Statutes of 2006, establishes a 
          specific methodology for including graduation rates, as 
          previously required, in the API; also requires the SPI to report 
          annually to the Legislature on graduation and dropout rates in 
          the state.  AB 1295 (Thomson), Chapter 887, Statutes of 2001, 
          makes changes to the API to allow small school districts to 
          receive an API score, receive growth targets, and performance 
          awards.  SB 1 X1 (Alpert), Chapter 3, Statutes of 1999-2000 
          First Extraordinary Session, known as the Public Schools 
          Accountability Act (PSAA), authorizes the state's current 
          accountability program, including establishment of the PSAA 
          Advisory Committee, development of the API and development of an 
          alternative accountability system.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          American Federation of State, county and Municipal Employees, 
          AFL-CIO








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          California School Boards Association
          School for Integrated Academics and Technologies (SIATech) 
          (Sponsor)

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Gerald Shelton / ED. / (916) 319-2087