The Colorado Department of Education recently released ratings for schools and districts. The ratings are included in detailed performance framework reports, available here, that provide a great deal of data on schools and districts. The ratings themselves are intended to highlight schools and districts that are doing well and identify those that need improvement.
These frameworks help parents and communities understand specific, detailed information about academic performance of schools and districts with data that can be compared to other schools and districts around the state. The frameworks look at:
Performance on statewide assessments in English language arts, math and science.
Growth from year to year on English language arts and math assessments as well as growth by English language learners on the ACCESS tests.
Secondary schools’ graduation rates, dropout rates, matriculation rates and college entrance exam scores.
All of this is combined into an overall accountability score report every year for the schools and districts. The past two years, the system was put on pause while educators and students gained more experience with the new Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessments and the impact of the COVID-10 pandemic.
Colorado’s accountability system was created by the Education Accountability Act of 2009, a law based on the notion that every student should have an opportunity to receive an excellent education and graduate ready to succeed. The system is intended to identify successful schools and districts and learn from their practices, while those whose students struggle are identified and receive extra assistance.
It is important to note that the system is set up to provide parents, teachers and the community comparable information about the performance of their children’s school, their district and the state’s public education system in general. The ratings, however, don’t tell the whole story about a school or district and the hard work that goes on every day in every classroom by teachers, staff and students. The scores can be seen as a one time measurement that allows us to reflect on accomplishments we have made and what needs to be accomplished to continuously improve our schools to ultimately help every child succeed in life.