Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action
This article was updated on Dec. 6 with a table identifying the 374 districts that will receive county and state assistance and on Dec. 7 with information on student groups that will be receiving assistance in those districts.

About 1 in 3 school districts will require assistance from the state or their county offices of education to improve their performance in several areas, based on the new ratings on the California School Dashboard, which the California Department of Education released on Thursday.

The 374 districts are 148 more than last year, when the mandatory system of state support went into effect. The districts qualified because at least one ethnic, racial or other student group received the lowest color rating, red, in two or more of six achievement metrics. The metrics include student test scores in math and English language arts, graduation rates and suspension rates.

The addition this year of two more long-awaited ratings — chronic absenteeism and students’ readiness for college and careers — played a factor in the district list, and both indicators underscore new areas of concern. Only 42 percent of high school seniors in 2018 were deemed prepared for college or a career, and last year 11 percent of  elementary and middle school students missed more than 18 days of school last year, designating chronic absence.

Also in this year’s dashboard, high school test scores in math and English language arts, which were included as a component of the college/career readiness indicator, received a separate color rating for the first time. And there is no color rating this year for the English learner progress indicator, measuring how quickly English learners become proficient in English, because the state switched to a new test. Since more than one year of  scores are needed to produce a color, the color rating will return in 2020.

Introduced in 2017, the dashboard is a key element of the state’s new school accountability system, which emphasizes achievement on multiple indicators without a single summative rating like a letter grade. Two factors determine a color rating: results in the current year and how much the results declined or improved from the year before. The five colors are red, the lowest rating, orange, yellow, green and blue, the highest. Low test results in math that otherwise would be designated as orange can be bumped up a rating to yellow, for example, if the results sharply increased from the year earlier — or bumped down to red if they sharply declined.

User friendlier

Parents should find this year’s version more intuitive and easier to navigate, particularly on mobile phones. Instead of clicking back and forth, a user can scroll down for information. Although the state’s improved dashboard is considered to be more reader-friendly this year, it still doesn’t make it easy for the public to quickly see how schools and districts changed from one year to the next. On the other hand, parents who want more details on why colors changed from last year will have more difficulty finding the information. The state is not providing student group reports for 2017.

The dashboard doesn’t allow for comparing schools and districts, although this year readers can quickly compare a school’s or district’s scores with the state average. (You can use a tool on EdSource’s version of the dashboard to make comparisons of schools and districts.)

About a third of the districts flagged for help this year also received state or county assistance last year, and most districts will receive help for more than one low-performing student group. Just as last year, students will disabilities will be largest student group receiving assistance, in 243 districts of the 374 designated districts, according to an EdSource analysis. In addition, 145 districts are getting support for homeless students and 106 for foster students; both of those student groups make up a small, but particularly vulnerable, portion of the overall student population.

African-American students will be helped in 66 districts, the most of any ethnic or racial group, followed by Hispanics in 44 districts. English learners will receive assistance in 59 districts. (To see how student subgroups in each district or school were rated in each of the six indicators in 2018, select “View Additional Reports” on the top right-hand side of your district’s or school’s dashboard report, then select “Student Group Report.”)

The dashboard itself does not designate which districts have been flagged for “differentiated assistance” by the state or their county office of education.  The state separately produces the list, which can be found below.

Which 374 districts and county offices will receive assistance

This year, 374 school districts and county offices of education have been designated to receive state or county assistance because at least one student group received a red rating in two or more performance indicators. Student groups include students with disabilities, English learners, foster children and students from different races and ethnicities.

DistrictCountyStudent Groups
San Joaquin County Office of EducationSan Joaquin10
San Bernardino County Office of EducationSan Bernardino9
San Diego County Office of EducationSan Diego8
Oroville City ElementaryButte7
Antioch UnifiedContra Costa7
Kern County Office of EducationKern7
Los Angeles County Office of EducationLos Angeles7
Alameda County Office of EducationAlameda6
Oakland UnifiedAlameda6
Fresno County Office of EducationFresno6
Calexico UnifiedImperial6
Lakeport UnifiedLake6
Antelope Valley Union HighLos Angeles6
Merced County Office of EducationMerced6
Orange County Department of EducationOrange6
Riverside County Office of EducationRiverside6
Banning UnifiedRiverside6
Sacramento County Office of EducationSacramento6
Sacramento City UnifiedSacramento6
Barstow UnifiedSan Bernardino6
Julian Union ElementarySan Diego6
Sequoia Union HighSan Mateo6
West Contra Costa UnifiedContra Costa5
San Juan UnifiedSacramento5
Morongo UnifiedSan Bernardino5
Cajon Valley UnionSan Diego5
Stockton UnifiedSan Joaquin5
Pajaro Valley UnifiedSanta Cruz5
Vallejo City UnifiedSolano5
Sonoma County Office of EducationSonoma5
Hayward UnifiedAlameda4
San Lorenzo UnifiedAlameda4
Mt. Diablo UnifiedContra Costa4
Eureka City SchoolsHumboldt4
Eastside Union ElementaryLos Angeles4
Palmdale ElementaryLos Angeles4
Pasadena UnifiedLos Angeles4
Wilsona ElementaryLos Angeles4
Modoc Joint UnifiedModoc4
Monterey County Office of EducationMonterey4
South Monterey County Joint Union HighMonterey4
Grass Valley ElementaryNevada4
Fullerton Joint Union HighOrange4
Hemet UnifiedRiverside4
Palm Springs UnifiedRiverside4
Perris Union HighRiverside4
Victor Valley Union HighSan Bernardino4
Snowline Joint UnifiedSan Bernardino4
Escondido Union HighSan Diego4
Lodi UnifiedSan Joaquin4
Santa Clara County Office of EducationSanta Clara4
Alum Rock Union ElementarySanta Clara4
Fairfield-Suisun UnifiedSolano4
Stanislaus County Office of EducationStanislaus4
Denair UnifiedStanislaus4
Marysville Joint UnifiedYuba4
Newark UnifiedAlameda3
Thermalito Union ElementaryButte3
Contra Costa County Office of EducationContra Costa3
Pittsburg UnifiedContra Costa3
Lake Tahoe UnifiedEl Dorado3
Fresno UnifiedFresno3
Klamath-Trinity Joint UnifiedHumboldt3
McKinleyville Union ElementaryHumboldt3
South Bay Union ElementaryHumboldt3
Imperial County Office of EducationImperial3
Brawley ElementaryImperial3
Bakersfield CityKern3
Kernville Union ElementaryKern3
Muroc Joint UnifiedKern3
Corcoran Joint UnifiedKings3
Hanford Joint Union HighKings3
Kelseyville UnifiedLake3
Konocti UnifiedLake3
Madera UnifiedMadera3
Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint UnifiedMerced3
Salinas Union HighMonterey3
San Antonio Union ElementaryMonterey3
Gonzales UnifiedMonterey3
Napa Valley UnifiedNapa3
Nevada City ElementaryNevada3
Penn Valley Union ElementaryNevada3
Jurupa UnifiedRiverside3
Val Verde UnifiedRiverside3
Folsom-Cordova UnifiedSacramento3
Victor ElementarySan Bernardino3
Hesperia UnifiedSan Bernardino3
Apple Valley UnifiedSan Bernardino3
Lakeside Union ElementarySan Diego3
Sweetwater Union HighSan Diego3
Valley Center-Pauma UnifiedSan Diego3
San Francisco UnifiedSan Francisco3
Lincoln UnifiedSan Joaquin3
South San Francisco UnifiedSan Mateo3
Lompoc UnifiedSanta Barbara3
Campbell Union HighSanta Clara3
East Side Union HighSanta Clara3
Oak Grove ElementarySanta Clara3
Santa Cruz City HighSanta Cruz3
Windsor UnifiedSonoma3
Modesto City HighStanislaus3
Patterson Joint UnifiedStanislaus3
Riverbank UnifiedStanislaus3
Sutter County Office of EducationSutter3
Tulare County Office of EducationTulare3
Pleasant View ElementaryTulare3
Tulare Joint Union HighTulare3
Ventura County Office of EducationVentura3
Woodland Joint UnifiedYolo3
San Leandro UnifiedAlameda2
Amador County UnifiedAmador2
Chico UnifiedButte2
Oroville Union HighButte2
Paradise UnifiedButte2
Calaveras UnifiedCalaveras2
Pierce Joint UnifiedColusa2
John Swett UnifiedContra Costa2
Mother Lode Union ElementaryEl Dorado2
Laton Joint UnifiedFresno2
Golden Plains UnifiedFresno2
Glenn County Office of EducationGlenn2
Willows UnifiedGlenn2
Fortuna Union HighHumboldt2
Southern Humboldt Joint UnifiedHumboldt2
Westmorland Union ElementaryImperial2
Kern HighKern2
Mojave UnifiedKern2
Southern Kern UnifiedKern2
Tehachapi UnifiedKern2
Sierra Sands UnifiedKern2
ABC UnifiedLos Angeles2
Azusa UnifiedLos Angeles2
Bellflower UnifiedLos Angeles2
Downey UnifiedLos Angeles2
El Rancho UnifiedLos Angeles2
Montebello UnifiedLos Angeles2
Paramount UnifiedLos Angeles2
Pomona UnifiedLos Angeles2
West Covina UnifiedLos Angeles2
Compton UnifiedLos Angeles2
Chowchilla ElementaryMadera2
Bolinas-Stinson UnionMarin2
San Rafael City ElementaryMarin2
San Rafael City HighMarin2
Round Valley UnifiedMendocino2
Ukiah UnifiedMendocino2
Laytonville UnifiedMendocino2
Merced City ElementaryMerced2
Salinas City ElementaryMonterey2
Soledad UnifiedMonterey2
Nevada County Office of EducationNevada2
Twin Ridges ElementaryNevada2
Anaheim Union HighOrange2
Fullerton ElementaryOrange2
Roseville Joint Union HighPlacer2
Alvord UnifiedRiverside2
Desert Sands UnifiedRiverside2
Moreno Valley UnifiedRiverside2
Palo Verde UnifiedRiverside2
Perris ElementaryRiverside2
Riverside UnifiedRiverside2
Elk Grove UnifiedSacramento2
Galt Joint Union HighSacramento2
Robla ElementarySacramento2
Center Joint UnifiedSacramento2
Twin Rivers UnifiedSacramento2
Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint UnifiedSan Bernardino2
Mountain Empire UnifiedSan Diego2
National ElementarySan Diego2
San Diego UnifiedSan Diego2
South Bay UnionSan Diego2
Oceanside UnifiedSan Diego2
San Luis Obispo County Office of EducationSan Luis Obispo2
Atascadero UnifiedSan Luis Obispo2
Burlingame ElementarySan Mateo2
Jefferson Union HighSan Mateo2
Gilroy UnifiedSanta Clara2
Morgan Hill UnifiedSanta Clara2
Santa Cruz County Office of EducationSanta Cruz2
Cascade Union ElementaryShasta2
Fall River Joint UnifiedShasta2
Redding ElementaryShasta2
Mountain Union ElementaryShasta2
Gateway UnifiedShasta2
Weed Union ElementarySiskiyou2
Willow Creek ElementarySiskiyou2
Benicia UnifiedSolano2
Petaluma City SchoolsSonoma2
Sonoma Valley UnifiedSonoma2
Healdsburg UnifiedSonoma2
Empire Union ElementaryStanislaus2
Turlock UnifiedStanislaus2
Yuba City UnifiedSutter2
Evergreen UnionTehama2
Allensworth ElementaryTulare2
Farmersville UnifiedTulare2
Porterville UnifiedTulare2
Twain HarteTuolumne2
Yolo County Office of EducationYolo2
Washington UnifiedYolo2
Wheatland Union HighYuba2
Alameda UnifiedAlameda1
Berkeley UnifiedAlameda1
Castro Valley UnifiedAlameda1
Emery UnifiedAlameda1
Livermore Valley Joint UnifiedAlameda1
New Haven UnifiedAlameda1
Butte County Office of EducationButte1
Palermo Union ElementaryButte1
Mark Twain Union ElementaryCalaveras1
Maxwell UnifiedColusa1
Liberty Union HighContra Costa1
Oakley Union ElementaryContra Costa1
El Dorado Union HighEl Dorado1
Gold Oak Union ElementaryEl Dorado1
Black Oak Mine UnifiedEl Dorado1
Clovis UnifiedFresno1
Coalinga-Huron UnifiedFresno1
Kings Canyon Joint UnifiedFresno1
Parlier UnifiedFresno1
Selma UnifiedFresno1
West Park ElementaryFresno1
Central UnifiedFresno1
Mendota UnifiedFresno1
Caruthers UnifiedFresno1
Washington UnifiedFresno1
Humboldt County Office of EducationHumboldt1
Northern Humboldt Union HighHumboldt1
Fortuna ElementaryHumboldt1
Calipatria UnifiedImperial1
El Centro ElementaryImperial1
Meadows Union ElementaryImperial1
San Pasqual Valley UnifiedImperial1
Beardsley ElementaryKern1
Fairfax ElementaryKern1
Standard ElementaryKern1
Taft CityKern1
Wasco Union HighKern1
Rio Bravo-Greeley Union ElementaryKern1
Kings County Office of EducationKings1
Hanford ElementaryKings1
Lemoore Union ElementaryKings1
Lemoore Union HighKings1
Lucerne ElementaryLake1
Upper Lake UnifiedLake1
Fort Sage UnifiedLassen1
Baldwin Park UnifiedLos Angeles1
Bonita UnifiedLos Angeles1
Burbank UnifiedLos Angeles1
Covina-Valley UnifiedLos Angeles1
Culver City UnifiedLos Angeles1
El Monte Union HighLos Angeles1
Garvey ElementaryLos Angeles1
Inglewood UnifiedLos Angeles1
Keppel Union ElementaryLos Angeles1
Lancaster ElementaryLos Angeles1
Long Beach UnifiedLos Angeles1
Lowell JointLos Angeles1
Lynwood UnifiedLos Angeles1
Mountain View ElementaryLos Angeles1
Norwalk-La Mirada UnifiedLos Angeles1
Westside Union ElementaryLos Angeles1
Whittier Union HighLos Angeles1
Hacienda la Puente UnifiedLos Angeles1
Rowland UnifiedLos Angeles1
Madera County Superintendent of SchoolsMadera1
Bass Lake Joint Union ElementaryMadera1
Chowchilla Union HighMadera1
Yosemite UnifiedMadera1
Novato UnifiedMarin1
Ross Valley ElementaryMarin1
Mariposa County Office of EducationMariposa1
Mariposa County UnifiedMariposa1
Fort Bragg UnifiedMendocino1
Hilmar UnifiedMerced1
Livingston UnionMerced1
Los Banos UnifiedMerced1
Merced Union HighMerced1
Weaver UnionMerced1
Eastern Sierra UnifiedMono1
Greenfield Union ElementaryMonterey1
Monterey Peninsula UnifiedMonterey1
Calistoga Joint UnifiedNapa1
Nevada Joint Union HighNevada1
Union Hill ElementaryNevada1
Capistrano UnifiedOrange1
Garden Grove UnifiedOrange1
Huntington Beach Union HighOrange1
La Habra City ElementaryOrange1
Newport-Mesa UnifiedOrange1
Orange UnifiedOrange1
Placentia-Yorba Linda UnifiedOrange1
Santa Ana UnifiedOrange1
Irvine UnifiedOrange1
Auburn Union ElementaryPlacer1
Roseville City ElementaryPlacer1
Rocklin UnifiedPlacer1
San Jacinto UnifiedRiverside1
Temecula Valley UnifiedRiverside1
Murrieta Valley UnifiedRiverside1
Elverta Joint ElementarySacramento1
Natomas UnifiedSacramento1
San Benito HighSan Benito1
Chaffey Joint Union HighSan Bernardino1
Chino Valley UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Colton Joint UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Fontana UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Mountain View ElementarySan Bernardino1
Oro GrandeSan Bernardino1
Redlands UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Rim of the World UnifiedSan Bernardino1
San Bernardino City UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Baker Valley UnifiedSan Bernardino1
Chula Vista ElementarySan Diego1
Encinitas Union ElementarySan Diego1
Fallbrook Union HighSan Diego1
Grossmont Union HighSan Diego1
Jamul-Dulzura Union ElementarySan Diego1
Lemon GroveSan Diego1
Ramona City UnifiedSan Diego1
Vista UnifiedSan Diego1
San Marcos UnifiedSan Diego1
Bonsall UnifiedSan Diego1
San Francisco County Office of EducationSan Francisco1
Linden UnifiedSan Joaquin1
Manteca UnifiedSan Joaquin1
Tracy Joint UnifiedSan Joaquin1
Templeton UnifiedSan Luis Obispo1
Paso Robles Joint UnifiedSan Luis Obispo1
Brisbane ElementarySan Mateo1
Ravenswood City ElementarySan Mateo1
Redwood City ElementarySan Mateo1
San Mateo-Foster CitySan Mateo1
San Mateo Union HighSan Mateo1
Carpinteria UnifiedSanta Barbara1
Guadalupe Union ElementarySanta Barbara1
Santa Maria Joint Union HighSanta Barbara1
Santa Barbara UnifiedSanta Barbara1
Berryessa Union ElementarySanta Clara1
Fremont Union HighSanta Clara1
San Jose UnifiedSanta Clara1
Scotts Valley UnifiedSanta Cruz1
Black Butte Union ElementaryShasta1
Cottonwood Union ElementaryShasta1
Big Springs Union ElementarySiskiyou1
Butteville Union ElementarySiskiyou1
Siskiyou Union HighSiskiyou1
Yreka Union ElementarySiskiyou1
Travis UnifiedSolano1
Vacaville UnifiedSolano1
Cloverdale UnifiedSonoma1
Guerneville ElementarySonoma1
Cotati-Rohnert Park UnifiedSonoma1
Ceres UnifiedStanislaus1
Modesto City ElementaryStanislaus1
Oakdale Joint UnifiedStanislaus1
Live Oak UnifiedSutter1
Red Bluff Union ElementaryTehama1
Alta Vista ElementaryTulare1
Pixley Union ElementaryTulare1
Visalia UnifiedTulare1
Dinuba UnifiedTulare1
Columbia UnionTuolumne1
Jamestown ElementaryTuolumne1
Sonora ElementaryTuolumne1
Ojai UnifiedVentura1
Oxnard Union HighVentura1
Simi Valley UnifiedVentura1
Santa Paula UnifiedVentura1
Davis Joint UnifiedYolo1

To bolster help for districts, the Legislature approved an additional $80 million to county offices of education, the first line of help, and a new state agency charged with helping schools improve, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence.

EdSource search found that 38 school districts and 26 county offices of education had only orange and red ratings in every indicator. Music Watson, spokeswoman for the San Diego County Office of Education, the only county or district in the state rated red in all six indicators, said the county offices serve incarcerated youths and students who have struggled in traditional schools. Many students are behind academically when they arrive and have been subjected to severe trauma, she said.

Along with designating county assistance, the dashboard was created to shine a light on low-performing student groups and areas of performance that need attention. School districts are required to commit resources and set improvement goals in their annual Local Control and Accountability Plans for any indicator rated orange or red. That should be the case for chronic absenteeism, which is starting off with low scores.

EdSource found year-over-year overall improvement in ratings. The percentage of districts with orange in English language arts fell from 44 to 29 percent, with a corresponding increase in yellow, green and blue ratings. Districts with suspension rates in orange dropped from 31 to 24 percent, although districts in the red dropped only 1 percentage point, to 10 percent.

Alarming chronic absences

In California, a student is deemed chronically absent for missing 10 percent or more of school in a year. Statewide, 11 percent of students were chronically absent. The dashboard designates a “high” rate of chronic absenteeism in a district if between 10 and 20 percent of students are chronically absent and “very high” if the rate is 20 percent or more.

Of the 872 elementary and unified districts with a chronic absenteeism color, 10 percent are red and nearly half are either red or orange. That compares with 24 percent with either blue or green. As with most indicators, there are wide disparities among racial and ethnic groups. Although none are red, 8 of 13 student groups are orange, including African-American, Hispanic, low-income students and students with disabilities.

The State Board of Education did not rate high schools for chronic absenteeism, only grades 3 to 8, a decision that advocacy groups opposed.

Career data needed

The college/career readiness indicator is a work in progress and will be broadened with more metrics during the next two years. Partly because of a lack of statewide data, the state board has struggled to find reliable measures of career readiness and is studying what other states are doing. It hopes to have four performance levels, measuring how equipped students are for work and college after high school but, for now, has settled on three: prepared, approaching prepared and not prepared.

The indicators measure the proportion of students who satisfy various criteria. To be ranked prepared, a student would have to achieve at least one of eight requirements, among them: scoring high on standardized tests in 11th grade, meeting the A-G requirements for admission to the University of California and California State University, passing two Advanced Placement courses or completing a career technical education pathway with a minimum C- and doing well on at least one standardized test (go here for an explanation of the indicator by the California Dept. of Education).

Of the 412 districts with a college and career readiness rating, 40 percent are blue or green and 38 percent are red or orange. The ratings for schools, however, are starker, with one-quarter of schools red and 23 percent orange.

This year, 42 percent of graduates were rated prepared even though twice that many (84 percent) graduated from high school. Only 15 percent of English learners, 21 percent of African-American students and 34 percent of Hispanic students were deemed prepared for college/careers compared with 52 percent of white and 74 percent of Asian students, the only student group designated as blue. An analysis by the nonprofit Education Trust-West found that a red college/career indicator for one or more student groups was a factor in 46 percent of districts designated for county or state assistance.

“Finally including a College/Career Indicator in the dashboard is an important step forward, because we cannot be satisfied with a goal of simply getting students to graduate, if they aren’t really prepared for post-secondary success,” Brian Lee, the California director of the nonprofit Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, wrote in an email. “We have a long way to go, with too many schools and districts getting ‘reds.’”

“It is critical to add a well-prepared category soon, once new career metrics are incorporated into the indicator,” added Lee, who has pushed the state board on this issue.

EdSource reporter Theresa Harrington contributed to this article. 

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  1. Doug McRae 4 years ago4 years ago

    I appreciate the EdSource analysis data that year-over-year 2018 Dashboard ELA academic indicator ratings decreased from 44 percent of districts with Orange in 2017 to 29 percent with Orange in 2018, with a corresponding increase of districts in Yellow, Green and Blue ratings. On the surface, this is a very sends a very positive message that ELA achievement increased significantly across California during the 2017-18 school year. However, a deeper look into how the academic indicator … Read More

    I appreciate the EdSource analysis data that year-over-year 2018 Dashboard ELA academic indicator ratings decreased from 44 percent of districts with Orange in 2017 to 29 percent with Orange in 2018, with a corresponding increase of districts in Yellow, Green and Blue ratings. On the surface, this is a very sends a very positive message that ELA achievement increased significantly across California during the 2017-18 school year.

    However, a deeper look into how the academic indicator ratings were calculated for the 2018 Dashboard throws cold water on the positive messages seemingly sent. The 2018 Dashboard “cut scores” for academic indicators for grades 3-8 were based on 2017 Smarter Balanced test results, which dropped like a stone compared to 2016 results for all states using Smarter Balanced tests as documented on page 6 of a Consortium 2018 State-by-State Comparisons data document, and these 2017 declines artificially inflated 2018 Dashboard ELA results (fewer Reds and Oranges, more Green and Blue results).

    The bottom line is that the 2018 Dashboard academic indicator ELA seemingly positive results take advantage of both artificial increases that can be traced to continued use of low ball cut scores from the 2017 Dashboard and potentially true 2017-18 achievement gains in ELA across California. The same situation likely also applies to the any positive messages for the Math academic indicator on the 2018 Dashboard.


    • Ann 4 years ago4 years ago

      Thank you once again, Doug. As far as I can tell, we have essentially nothing to show for the past 5 years of Common Core, LCAP, Restorative Justice, and a third or less ‘disadvantaged’ students graduating career or college prepared (probably reading and math at or near elementary levels) from high school. No great expectations for Next Generation Science, either. What the hell are we doing?

  2. Anna M Meyerpeter-Newman 4 years ago4 years ago

    Not one word about the science scores or the academic metric of science being added to the dashboard. Disappointing!