Reports

  • The Challenges of Employee and Retiree Health Benefit Costs for California Districts

    Paul Bruno. Policy Analysis for California Education. May 2019.

    Researchers in the Getting Down to Facts II project showed that while the financial picture has improved in recent years for California’s school districts, several important challenges remain. This policy brief explores one of these challenges in greater detail: the costs of health and welfare benefits for district employees.

  • Making Sense of Social-Emotional Survey Results Using the CORE Districts' Benchmarking Data

    Katie Buckley, Ed.D.. May 2019.

    The CORE districts have been measuring SEL via self-report student surveys since 2015. Any district, state, or school looking to use these surveys can now build from what we have learned in the CORE districts. In this paper we provide benchmarking data, including means and standard deviations by construct, grade level and subgroup, and examples of how to use these data in practice. The data come from nearly half a million students across the 8 CORE districts, in grades 4 through 12, who took the survey in the 2015-16 school year.

  • Predicting College Success: How Do Different High School Assessments Measure Up?

    Michal Kurlaender, Kramer Cohen. Policy Analysis for California Education. March 2019.

    The Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC), implemented in California in 2014–15 as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, is designed to evaluate students’ levels of college and career readiness. Student scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment are currently used for both accountability and school improvement purposes. Aligned with Common Core State Standards for college readiness, student performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment may also predict students’ success in college in a manner similar to other commonly used assessments for predicting college success.

  • Californians and Public Education: Views from the 2019 PACE/USC Rossier Poll

    Morgan S. Polikoff, Heather Hough, Julie A. Marsh, David N. Plank. Policy Analysis for California Education. February 2019.

    With a new governor, state superintendent and legislators in Sacramento and a diminished federal role in education, there is an opportunity for California’s leaders to take stock of recent educational reforms and make necessary improvements. There are also a host of new and looming issues in K-12 and higher education. As California’s leaders confront these and other issues, where do California voters, including parents, stand on education and education policy? The newest edition of the USC Rossier/PACE Poll shares voter perspectives on a wide range of education issues.

  • Engaging District, School, and Teacher Leaders in Improvement

    H. Alix Gallagher, Angela Gong, Heather Hough, Kate E. Kennedy, Taylor N. Allbright, Eupha Jeanne Daramola. Policy Analysis for California Education. January 2019.

    California’s shift towards continuous improvement in education makes understanding how districts and schools can learn to improve a more pressing question than ever. The CORE Improvement Community (CIC), a network of California school districts engaged in learning about improvement together, is an important testing ground to learn about what this work entails. 

  • Principals’ Perceptions: Implementing The Local Control Funding Formula

    Julia E. Koppich. January 2019.

    In fall 2018, the Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative (LCFFRC) conducted surveys of stratified random samples of California superintendents and principals. Superintendent results were published in June 2018 in Superintendents Speak: Implementing the Local Control Funding Formula. This report, Principals’ Perceptions: Implementing the Local Control Funding Formula, is the companion account of principal survey results.

  • Where California High School Students Attend College

    Michal Kurlaender, Sherrie Reed, Kramer Cohen, Matt Naven, Paco Martorell, Scott Carrell. December 2018.

    This report, part of an ongoing collaboration between researchers at the University of California, Davis and the California Department of Education, alleviates some of the unknowns about students’ postsecondary trajectories and provides a foundation for future research on college and career readiness.

  • What is California’s High School Graduation Rate?

    Cameron Sublett, Russell Rumberger. Policy Analysis for California Education. December 2018.

    This report examines high school graduation rates in California. It reviews the various approaches to calculating high school graduation rates, focusing on the challenges and limitations of the most widely used rate, the Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR).

  • Fostering Pre-K to Elementary Alignment and Continuity in Mathematics in Urban School Districts: Challenges and Possibilities

    Cynthia Coburn, Elizabeth Friedmann, Kelly McMahon, Graciela Borsato, Abigail Stein, Natalie Jou, Seenae Chong, Rebekah LeMahieu, Megan Franke, Sonia Ibarra, Deborah J. Stipek. Policy Analysis for California Education. November 2018.

    In recent years, California has invested in improving early childhood education programs. Research shows the importance of high-quality early childhood education, but the disconnect from K–12 education threatens its long-term benefits. If the early grades do not build on the gains made in preschool, they likely will be lost. This brief, based on a longer technical report , describes the challenges facing pre-K–3 alignment and offers promising practices and policy recommendations.

  • The Network Solution: How Rural District Networks Can Drive Continuous Improvement

    Thomas Timar, Allison Carter, Nicodemus Ford. Policy Analysis for California Education. October 2018.

    Rural school districts face unique challenges in procuring funds, recruiting staff, and obtaining high-quality technical assistance. This environment creates problems in identifying high-quality instructional materials and implementing best practices. A collaborative learning network can address these challenges by providing access to professional development, collaborative time with peer districts, and economies of scale. This report discusses rural networks, specifically Pivot Learning’s Rural Professional Learning Network, can cost-effectively provide expertise and build a professional culture.

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