Governor Signs Steinberg Bill to Redefine API

September 26, 2012

SB 1458 Will Bring Far-Reaching Education Reform  

(Sacramento) – A measure that will create fundamental change in how and what is taught in California high schools has been signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown. Californians will have a more accurate measurement of success for the nearly two million students in our public high schools through SB 1458, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. SB 1458 will redefine the Academic Performance Index (API) by relying less on standardized bubble-test scores and more on other important factors such as graduation rates, and student readiness for higher education, technical training, and entering into a globally competitive job market. 

“I believe this measure will prove to be the most significant education reform bill of the decade, fueling linked learning and fundamentally changing what we teach and how we measure accomplishment. I’m pleased the Governor agrees that test scores alone are hardly a true indicator of the success or failure of our students,” said Steinberg. “For years, ‘Teaching to the test’ has become more than a worn cliché because 100 percent of the API relied on bubble tests scores in limited subject areas. But life is not a bubble test and that system has failed our kids. By balancing testing with factors like graduation rates, and measuring how prepared our students are for entering college and the workforce, SB 1458 will spur the system into delivering higher quality education combining real-world relevance and academic rigor. In years to come, I believe we’ll see the true impact of this fundamental reform in our schools”

SB 1458 will limit test scores to account for no more than 60 percent of the API for high schools, creating room for the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and state Board of Education to incorporate other important factors and to develop a system of local school quality review. The State Superintendent would also be directed to develop methods for increasing emphasis on science and social science, which currently carry little weight in the API. 

For elementary and middle schools, where alternative data is less developed, standardized tests must account for at least 60 percent of the API. 

Business organizations have complained that an increasing number of students lack the skills and competencies needed to succeed in the workforce. At the college level, too many students are also academically unprepared and are required to take remedial courses. For these and other reasons, SB 1458 is supported by a wide cross section of dozens of business, education and parent organizations. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the California State PTA, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, the University of California, the Los Angeles Unified School District, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California Building Industry Association and many others have backed Senator Steinberg’s measure. 

A full list of supporters is available at: http://1.usa.gov/PGZMW5