Equity-Focused School Assessments

Oakland families and educators have long recognized that standardized testing alone does not tell the whole story. Schools do much more than simply teach students to read and do math. When a school is great, it is a community hub – a place where families feel welcome and heard, and where students feel safe, nurtured, and challenged.

Next year, Oakland Unified School District will roll out a new holistic and equity-focused assessment called the School Performance Framework (SPF). SPF uses 16 different indicators that measure quality of academics (60 percent of total score), and culture and climate (40 percent of total score) to arrive at an overall school score.

The culture/climate indicators include Social Emotional Skills, Suspensions, and Parent/Staff/Student Surveys. Academic indicators include Graduation Rates, Scholastic Reading Inventory, and A-G Completion. Each of these metrics capture an essential feature of a safe, positive, and thriving school community.

A school is only truly successful if it serves all students. In previous school assessments, educational equity was an afterthought. While the test scores for some students were provided, these scores didn’t factor into the overall assessment of the school.

In the SPF, the overall score for the school is a composite of equally weighted sub-groups and the scores of all students. In addition to factoring in the traditional ethnic/racial sub-groups, the SPF includes scores for historically underserved and oppressed groups like students with disabilities, English Learners, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

By calculating a school’s Index score this way, the SPF incentivizes schools to improve their scores by investing in their highest need students, rather than focusing solely on high-performers.

No assessment can fully capture the quality of our schools. Similarly, no one assessment can create educational equity. However, the SPF does more to illuminate inequities and include the perspectives of parents, teachers, and students than any assessment in Oakland ever has. For more information, check out OUSD’s SPF website and be sure to ask your school administrator about how the SPF score will guide your school’s growth.

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