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CDE Update

CDE Update

About the CDE Update

Welcome to the CDE Update! Each month, this publication will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources.

This online format allows you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information.

March 2018

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

Unified Improvement Planning Submissions Dates

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) by Monday, April 16, for public posting. Some programs (e.g., ESSA, Gifted) will review plans to ensure program requirements are met.. Districts and schools with a Performance plan type may submit plans biennially. View eligibility on the UIP resources webpage.

If a small district of less than 1,000 students enrolled, or between 1,000 and 1,200 students with approval from CDE, is interested in submitting a single combined plan for the district and schools, contact the UIP office at to get that set up in the online system. More information regarding submission is available on the UIP submissions webpage. Contact Lisa Steffen at or 303-866-6676 with any questions.

CDE feedback will be available in the online system by early to mid-March for schools and districts with Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan types that were submitted in January. Feedback will specify if there are any required changes and timelines for revisions.

Teaching and Learning Conditions in Colorado Survey

Thanks to the districts that have participated in the Teaching and Learning Conditions Colorado (TLCC) survey. The extended window closes Monday, March 5, and data will be available by late April. Data will be made available to districts for one week prior to being released publicly. Any school or district that met the participation threshold of 50 percent of staff and at least five respondents will be able to see its results. For more information about the TLCC survey, please contact Lisa Medler at or 303-866-6993.

Alternative Education Campus Status Applications

Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) reapplying for the 2018-19 school year will have pre-populated data uploaded to the Data Pipeline system automatically. The Accountability and Data Analysis Unit will compile pre-populated data into Data Pipeline. This year, the AEC Renewal/Application collection must be submitted through the Data Pipeline system. Data is now available in Data Pipeline. To gain access to this system, a district’s local area manager should grant permissions for the AEC~LEAAPPROVER role.

More details about the collection are available on the AEC collections webpage. Reach out to B Sanders, or 303-866-2865, with questions.

What's on the Horizon

Optional Data Submission for Industry-Recognized Credentials

The calculation of matriculation rates for state accountability determinations relies on data provided by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and includes community college enrollment, four-year higher education institution enrollment, Career and Technical Education enrollment and/or certificates or degrees earned prior to graduation. Until now industry-recognized credentials have been unavailable for inclusion within the matriculation rate calculations based on the lack of available data.

In April, the Accountability & Data Analysis Unit will allow an optional data submission of industry-recognized credentials that were earned prior to graduation for the class of 2017. The credentials will be guaranteed if submissions meet the requirements and are included on the approved list established by the Colorado Workforce Development Council.

For more information concerning this collection, visit the School and District Performance Frameworks resources webpage. For questions, contact Dan Jorgensen at or 303-866-6763.


Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 16: All school and district UIPs are due to CDE through the online UIP system for posting on SchoolView.

More Information

For more information, contact Alyssa Pearson, associate commissioner of Accountability, Performance and Support, 303-866-6855,, or visit


Assessments administered by the unit include the CMAS and SAT suite of assessments as the state’s summative content assessments for measures of college/career readiness, the ACCESS English language proficiency assessments, and CoAlt alternate content assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Colorado Measures of Academic Success are the state tests in English language arts and math for grades three through eight; science for grades five, eight and 11; and social studies, which is sampled in grades four and seven in 2018. Also, in 2018 Colorado will administer the PSAT to ninth and 10th grade and the SAT to 11th grade.

What's Happening Now

2018 CMAS Assessment Updates

Many thanks to the Colorado educators who assisted the department in taking some of the first steps in implementing the State Board of Education’s December 2016 directives regarding our summative content assessments, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), in English language arts and math. The board directed staff to regain sole control of the assessments and requested that operational testing time for our English language arts (ELA) and math assessments be shortened with results available sooner.

Implementing these directives while maintaining comparability between assessment years has been the department’s top priority for our assessments. From a student and administration perspective, we expect this transition year to be relatively seamless. Students and educators will engage with the same systems for assessments that address the same content with the same item types. This year, while the CMAS ELA and math assessments will consist of items from those jointly developed with the PARCC states, the actual operational forms themselves are shorter and unique to Colorado. Incorporating new items solely developed by Colorado into the CMAS assessments will be a multi-year effort, with field testing beginning this spring. The number of items drawn from the PARCC item bank will decrease over time as items developed by Colorado educators are field tested and operationalized.

In addition, Colorado educators will notice the following changes:

  • The number of math sessions is reduced from four, 60-minute sessions to three, 65-minute sessions.
  • While ELA will continue to have three sessions, the stand-alone English language arts field testing session has been eliminated with all ELA sessions at a grade level being made the same length. 

For this spring, the consortium high school math tests  (Algebra I, Geometry, Integrated I and Integrated II) are available as an option for advanced math students in grades seven and eight. However, federal law allows this exception only for states that have end-of-course exams administered as their high school assessments. Given that Colorado is transitioning to the PSAT/SAT across grades nine through 11 and will no longer be giving the CMAS (PARCC) math assessments in high school, those assessments are not expected to be available after this year.

 As with the 2017 assessment results, districts are expected to receive individual student level files by the end of June with the remaining files and reports to follow in July.  Please keep in mind that while CDE’s goal has been to maintain comparability at the overall scale score and performance level, because the number of operational items has been reduced, there will be impact to lower levels of reporting. Most notably, while we expect to be able to report out on writing in some way, there will not be a writing scale score. The Department has been working with our technical advisory committee on the adjustments that will need to be made.

If you have any questions about the 2018 assessments, please contact Joyce Zurkowski at 303-866-6929 or

Sample communication materials are available to help communicate with parents about the upcoming assessments. All the materials are on our website. If you need additional support with your communications, please contact Dana Smith at 303-866-6682 or

ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data Review

Student Biographical Data (SBD) reviews provide voluntary opportunities for districts to review and make corrections to assessment data through CDE’s data pipeline. The tentative dates for the ACCESS for English Language Learners SBD review window are Thursday, March 15, to Wednesday, March 28.

CMAS Extended and Early Testing Windows

Districts that last fall requested an extended window for CMAS English Language Arts and math due to device capacity will start testing as soon as Monday, March 19. Districts that requested an early high school science window may begin testing as early as Monday, March 26. Window start dates depend on the dates requested by districts. Verification of special test form assignments and online test session setup must be completed by Assessment Coordinators prior to testing.

Verification of CMAS and CoAlt Training in Districts

To confirm that all schools have completed spring assessment administration training, the CMAS and CoAlt Verification of District Training form is to be returned to the CDE Assessment Unit prior to testing. Please note that it requires a superintendent’s signature. This form confirms that all individuals involved with assessment administration or handling secure materials have been trained and have signed a Colorado Security Agreement form for spring 2018.

CO School Day PSAT and SAT

District Assessment Coordinators should check with Test Center Supervisors to make sure that they have scheduled their PSAT and SAT administration trainings with school staff.  Test Administration training for both the PSAT and the SAT are available to schools via pre-recorded training modules posted to the College Board’s online learning system. Test Center Supervisors should plan to complete staff training for the PSAT and the SAT by Tuesday, March 27.

What's on the Horizon

Spring 2018 State Assessment Calendar

Spring 2018 Tentative Colorado State Assessment Testing Windows


Content Area


Spring 2018 Testing Window

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS)



Official Window:
April 9–27

Pre-approved Early HS Science Window:
March 26– April 13 OR
April 2–April 20

Pre-approved Extended Math/ELA/CSLA Window:
Begin as early as March 19*

English language arts (including CSLA)



5, 8, and 11

Social Studies**

4 and 7

Colorado Alternate Assessment (CoAlt)

Should be the same as schools’ CMAS windows

Mathematics (DLM)*


Official Window:
April 9–27

Pre-approved Early HS Science Window:
March 26–April 13 OR
April 2–April 20

Pre-approved Extended Math/ELA Window:
Begin as early as March 19*

English language arts (DLM)



5, 8, and 11

Social Studies**

4 and 7


Mathematics and Evidence-based Reading and Writing

9 and 10

District choice for initial test date:
April 10, 11 or 12

Accommodations window:
April 10–17

Make-up testing window:
April 11–20


College Entrance Exam (Mathematics and Evidence-based Reading and Writing; optional Essay for students who pre-registered)


Initial test date:
April 10

Accommodations window:
April 10–13

Make-up test date:
April 24


*Districts needing more time to complete their math and ELA testing due to limited device numbers (i.e., the number of computers available will require multiple groups for each test unit) may have requested to participate in the extended math/ELA/CSLA test window and may begin testing in those content areas earlier for both CMAS and CoAlt. The maximum test window for ELA and math will be five weeks.  Please remember, that the extended window is only for online math and ELA (includes CSLA) and that only districts with limited device capacity are eligible to participate in the extended window. 

** In 2018 and 2019, social studies assessments will be administered on a sampling basis to one-third of elementary and middle schools. Decisions regarding Grade 11 for 2019 will be determined prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Weekly: Assessment Office Hours for DACs (DACs will receive call-in information.)

  • CMAS from 3-4 p.m. on Thursdays
  • CoAlt from 2-3 p.m. on Mondays
  • SAT/PSAT from 3-4 p.m. on Tuesdays

Starting Feb. 1: Districts create CMAS test sessions after indicating all special forms in PearsonAccessnext

Starting Feb. 26: Before testing, districts finalize CMAS computer-based test preparation activities

March 5: Early and extended testing districts – CMAS initial materials scheduled to arrive in districts

March 12: Proctor caching of CMAS math, ELA, and high school science online assessment content begins

March 15-28: Access for ELLs Student Biographical Data Review tentatively scheduled

March 26: Regular window testing districts – CMAS initial materials scheduled to arrive in districts

March 26: Proctor caching of CMAS science and social studies online assessment content begins

April 9-27: Official CMAS and CoAlt testing window

May 2: Deadline for UPS pickup of scorable CMAS materials

May 2: Deadline for entering CoAlt scores into PearsonAccessnext

May 4: Deadline for UPS pickup of non-scorable CMAS materials

May 4: Deadline for returning district CMAS Post Test Compliance Report to CDE through Syncplicity

May 11: Deadline for initial CMAS data clean-up in PearsonAccessnext (district and school levels)

May 14-16: Final CMAS data clean-up in PearsonAccessnext (district level)

May 17-24: PSAT/SAT Student Biographical Data Review tentatively scheduled

May 21-31: CMAS (all content areas) and CoAlt (science and social studies) Student Biographical Data Review tentatively scheduled

May 30-June 6: CoAlt DLM English language arts and math Student Biographical Data Review tentatively scheduled

More Information

For more information on assessments, contact Joyce Zurkowski, Executive Director of Assessment, 303-866-6929,, or visit


In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Colorado in May, 2017, submitted its state plan to the U.S. Department of Education on how it intends to implement ESSA in Colorado. CDE is in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to gain final approval of Colorado’s ESSA plan. Find more information on the state plan on CDE's ESSA webpage.

What's Happening Now

ESSA state plan approval update

In December 2017, CDE received feedback from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) on revisions to the state's ESSA plan that were submitted on Oct. 23, 2017. USDE requested additional clarification on a number of points, including technical aspects of Colorado’s proposed ESSA accountability system. In response, CDE made additional revisions to the plan and resubmitted it to the USDE for review on Feb. 6. Read the red-lined second revision of the plan (DOC).

Visit the ESSA State Plan Development webpage for more information.

ESSA Improvement Planning Requirements

ESSA requires each school identified for support and improvement to develop an improvement plan that addresses the reasons the school has been identified. CDE must review and approve improvement plans from schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CS), and districts must review and approve improvement plans from schools identified for targeted (TS) or additional targeted (ATS) support and improvement. The school Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) can be used to meet ESSA improvement planning requirements. CS schools are expected to document ESSA requirements within their Unified Improvement Plans (UIP). TS schools may also use their UIP to document ESSA plan requirements, but it is an LEA decision.

CDE will review CS UIPs submitted for the April 16 UIP deadline for ESSA plan requirements. During this first year of review and approval under ESSA, CDE will provide feedback to schools and districts regarding necessary revisions for plans to meet approval criteria by the fall of 2018. During that time, CDE will provide technical assistance and support on finalizing CS Improvement Plans.

CDE is also developing a rubric for reviewing and approving CS Improvement Plans that can serve as a model for districts to use in reviewing and approving TS and ATS plans.

A webinar is scheduled 1-3 p.m. Friday, March 16, to provide guidance on the process and how CDE will use the rubric for review, approval and feedback to schools.

For additional information, visit the ESSA Planning Requirements page or contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, or 303-866-6205, or Brad Bylsma at or 303-866-6937.

Supplement not Supplant

ESSA requires equitable distribution of resources, including ensuring that ESSA funds are supplemental to state and local funds. As such, Local Education Agencies must demonstrate to CDE the methodology used to allocate state and local funds to schools receiving assistance under Title I, Part A, ensures those schools are allocated all the funds they would otherwise get if they were not receiving Title I, Part A assistance. Demonstrations are due May 30. Please visit the Supplement not Supplant webpage for guidance and additional information.

For more information about Supplement not Supplant, contact Colleen Brooks, at 303-866-3897 or

What's on the Horizon

Planning for the 2018-19 ESEA Consolidated Application

In preparation for the 2018-19 Consolidated Application for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funds, districts should engage with stakeholders to determine how best to use and leverage ESEA Title funds to improve outcomes for students.

Here are things to keep in mind while preparing for application development:

  • Ensure the needs and outcomes of all students are represented in the team that develops the Consolidated Application.
  • Consult with all schools (including charters and non-public schools as applicable) regarding the ESEA funds for which the school may be eligible in the following school year.
  • If applicable, consult with neglected and/or delinquent facilities to ensure formal agreements are in place.
  • Coordinate with early childhood centers to plan transition of preschool students to Title I, Part A schools.
  • Conduct required parent engagement activities.

Visit the ESSA Consolidated Application page for more information on Consolidated Application planning, training and resources.

For questions regarding the 2018-19 Consolidated Application for ESEA Funds, contact your ESEA regional contact (DOC).

ESEA Office networking meetings

The Office of ESEA Programs hosts monthly networking meetings across the state, both virtually and in person, to provide programmatic updates and training. The next will be a virtual meeting on Friday, March 16, and will provide monitoring updates and a review of activities that are allowable using federal funds. In person meetings will resume in April and will be working meetings with ESEA staff on hand to assist LEAs in completing the 2018-19 Federal Consolidated Application.

Additional information about these networking meetings can be found on the ESEA Programs Office page. For questions, contact Brad Bylsma, director of CDE's ESEA office, at or 303-866-6937.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 16: ESEA Virtual Networking Meeting

March 16: ESSA Planning Requirements webinar

April 16: Comprehensive Support and Improvement Plans for identified schools are due

May 30: Supplement, not supplant demonstrations are due

More Information

For more information about Federal Programs, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

The ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data (SBD) will be conducted in March and the Report Card March collection is in full swing. 

What's Happening Now


The window for ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data collection will be open from Thursday, March 15, to Wednesday, March 28.

Report Card March

The Report Card March collection is open until Friday, April 13.

Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Application/Renewal Collection

The Alternative Education Campus application/renewal is new to Data Pipeline this year. It will close Friday, April 27.

Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Planned Measures Collection

The AEC Planned Measures collection is also new to Data Pipeline this year. This collection will close Friday, June 29.


Local education agencies will continue to receive monthly notifications for direct certification of newly identified migrant students through Data Pipeline.


  • The four-day school week application for 2018-19 is currently open and will close Friday, May 11.
  • Districts must request school code changes for the 2018-19 school year by Friday, June 29.

Teacher Student Data Link/ Statewide Student Course Codes

2017-18 Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL) interchange files may be uploaded. Districts are being encouraged to submit their statewide standard course codes as soon as possible but definitely prior to uploading TSDL files.The goal is for local education agencies to “Submit to CDE” by Wednesday, June 27, due to student information system rollover. However, the required deadline is Friday, Aug. 31.

Designated Agency

The 2017-18 Designated Agency collection is open. Designated agencies may enter 2017-18 candidates into the Data Pipeline between now and Friday, Aug. 31.

Student End of Year

The 2017-18 End of Year snapshot is now in a soft open phase so that districts can take snapshots. Business rules and documentation will continue to be updated through the spring with updated training in May.

What's on the Horizon

The Reading to Ensure Academic Development, or READ, Act collection will open in April. 

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 28:  ACCESS for ELLs SBD window closes

More Information

For more information on data pipeline, contact Jan Petro, director of data services, 303-866-6838, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now


Materials to communicate with parents, educators about the READ Act available 

CDE’s communications division is offering tools with communications materials about the READ Act to help educators and parents understand Colorado's important early literacy law. The toolkits includes videos, drop-in letters, fact sheets, ways parents can help their children read and answers to frequently asked questions. These materials are designed to help districts and schools communicate with parents about the READ Act. The materials are meant to be flexible. Use them as is or copy and paste the pieces that are most useful into your own branded materials. Parent-focused materials are available on this webpage and information for educators is available on this webpage.

For additional questions regarding the communications materials, please contact Jeremy Meyer, director of the communications unit, at or 303-866-2334.

READ Data Collection opens April 2

The READ data collection will be open from Monday, April 2, and remain open until June 15, with the re-submission period extending to July 2. This expedited timeline will allow the department to inform districts of funding levels by the end of July.

Please keep in mind that the READ Act requires districts to provide the department with a plan for how they intend to use READ funds prior to distribution. For those intending to use READ funds for summer school or intervention services, remember that information related to how the programs are based on scientific or evidenced-based research must be included in the budget plan. The Office of Literacy will host an informational webinar on this process at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 6. More information about this webinar can be found on the READ Act data collection webpage.

For more information the READ data collection or budget reporting requirements, contact Whitney Westgaard, literacy data analyst, at or 303-866-6421.


Next Generation Science Standards adaption survey

CDE has launched a survey to collect public feedback on a proposal from the science standards review and revision committee to adapt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for Colorado. The survey is open through March 19. Access it via Survey Monkey.

The science standards review committee is recommending that Colorado adapt the NGSS as Colorado’s science standards. Proposed adaptation would take substantial parts of the NGSS and incorporate them into the Colorado Academic Standards for science. The science committee will present its final recommendations to the State Board at its April and May meetings.

For more information or questions, contact Joanna Bruno, science content specialist, at 303-866-6571 or

State Board calendar for standards review

The State Board of Education will hear final recommendations from the standards review and revision committees at its March through June meetings. The committees for computer science, the arts, and world languages will present their final revision recommendations at the March board meeting with an expected vote to occur at the April meeting.  

The schedule for final presentation and approval of revisions will be as follows:

March: Final recommendations for arts, computer science and world languages.

April: Final recommendations for mathematics, social studies and science. Vote on recommendations for arts, computer science and world languages.

May: Final recommendations for science; reading, writing, and communicating; comprehensive health and physical education. Action to approve mathematics and social studies.

June: Action to approve science; reading, writing, and communicating; comprehensive health and physical education.

All proposed revision are anticipated to be adopted by July 1 in alignment with state law. Districts will have two years to review and revise their local standards as needed with implementation scheduled for the 2020-21 school year.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Floyd Cobb, executive director, Teaching and Learning Unit, 303-866-6868, or visit

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Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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