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News Release - Targets set for accountability; student groups to be counted separately

June 09, 2016

Targets set for accountability; student groups to be counted separately

The State Board of Education met in Pueblo for its regularly scheduled meeting.  Highlights include:
Groups of historically disadvantaged students to be counted separately for school and district ratings 
The Colorado State Board of Education advised staff to continue counting each group of historically disadvantaged students separately for points in the state’s rating system for schools and districts.
The proposal to use a combined group of historically disadvantaged students, such as English language learners and students eligible for free and reduced lunch,  grew out of discussion among schools,  districts, charter schools, school board membership and others participating in the Accountability Work Group formed in 2015.  Under the work group’s proposal, English language learners, students eligible for free and reduced lunch and other groups would be reported individually on the performance reports, but combined for the purpose of assigning points for accountability ratings. 
With the board’s recommendation, CDE will proceed with developing accountability ratings for schools and districts as it has done in the past, assigning points based on the performance of English language learners, students eligible for free and reduced lunch, minority students and students with IEPs. The new performance frameworks will disaggregate results for achievement and growth; in the past only growth results were disaggregated for accountability.
Targets approved for school and district performance ratings 
The board approved the staff’s recommendation, based on feedback from stakeholders and the Technical Advisory panel, on the achievement targets for school and district performance ratings.  The achievement targets are based on percentile rankings of results on the state’s assessments in English language arts, math and science.  The approved targets are below:

  • Exceeds expectations – Achievement at or above the 85th percentile
  • Meets expectations – Achievement between the 50th and 85th percentiles
  • Approaching expectations – Achievement between the 15th and 50th percentiles
  • Does not meet expectations – Achievement below the 15th percentile

High schools and districts in Colorado are also held accountable for postsecondary and workforce readiness targets comprised of graduation, dropout and college and career and technical education matriculation rates as well as students’ performance on the ACT exam taken by all 11th-grade students in spring 2016. In 2017, all Colorado 11th-grade students will take the SAT instead of the ACT.  
The board approved new targets for the high school graduations rates.  Schools with a graduation rate of 95 percent or above will exceed expectations for that target.  Graduation rates of 85 percent to 94 percent will earn schools a meet expectations rating, while those falling between 75 and 84 will be approaching expectations. 
Targets for student performance on the ACT exam were not changed.  Average scores of 22 or above earns schools a rating of exceeds expectations, while scores of 20 and 21 result in a meets expectation rating and scores between 17 and 19 result in an approaching expectations rating.
For more information on the accountability targets for schools and districts, including postsecondary and workforce readiness targets, see the staff’s presentation here
Overall Performance Indicator Weightings
The results of the individual performance indicators (achievement, growth and postsecondary workforce readiness) are combined to determine an overall school or district rating. The board finalized discussions around the weighting for each of the individual performance indicators.
The board recommended the following makeup of overall ratings for elementary and middle schools:

  • 40 percent based on achievement on state assessments tests
  • 60 percent based on growth on the assessments 

The board recommended the following new weightings for overall high school and district ratings:

  • 30 percent based on achievement on state assessments
  • 40 percent on growth on state assessments
  • 30 percent on achievement of postsecondary and workforce readiness targets

Approved notice of rulemaking on parental right to refuse to participate in state testing
The board approved the notice of rulemaking to create new rules on assessment participation requirements. Current state law requires local education providers to adopt and implement a written policy and procedure by which a student’s parents may excuse the student from participating in one or more of the state assessments. The recommended additions to the rules would require districts, as a part of their accreditation contracts, to provide assurances that they will:

  1. Not impose negative consequences on the student or parent if the parent excuses his or her student from participating in the state assessment; and
  2. Not impose an unreasonable burden or requirement on a student that would discourage the student from taking a state assessment or encourage the student’s parent to excuse the student from taking the state assessment.

Districts that do not comply with these provisions would be subject to existing consequences related to failing to uphold accreditation contracts.
The hearing on the proposed rules is tentatively planned for the September board meeting.
Waivers approved for Denver Public Schools
The State Board of Education approved waivers requested by Denver Public Schools for Creative Community Challenge, Denver Green School, Ashley Elementary, and Cole Arts and Sciences Academy. For more information click here
2016-17 BEST grants approved
The Colorado Board of Education today approved $161.5 million in total projects, with $60 million coming from the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program and $101.5 million in matching contributions. The $60 million total from BEST is a $10 million increase from the 2015-16 grant cycle after the Colorado Legislature approved an increase to the debt cap from $40 million to $45 million in 2016-2017.

In all, 31 projects, and 12 back-up projects were approved including:

  • $16,054,888 to Aurora Public Schools to replace the Mrachek Middle School,
  • $12,492,021 to Montrose County RE-1J for a middle school replacement, and
  • $8,568,488 to Bayfield 10 JT-R for renovation for a new primary school.

A full list of approved BEST Grants can be found here.
Monte Vista School District online and blended learning educator recognized
Kevin Wright from Monte Vista School District, a recipient of the “2015-16 Online & Blended Educator Recognition Award,” was recognized for the his positive impact on student performance and academic growth. Wright's approach to teaching writing has led to on-time course completion rates every year for the past three years and has contributed to fewer students becoming at-risk for delayed graduation or dropping out.
Multi-district online school application approved by state board
The board approved the application for certification of multi-district online schools submitted by Las Animas School District on behalf of AIM Global and Immersion School for Sciences, Technology and the Arts (ISSTA).  This certification allows AIM Global and ISSTA to offer full-time online education programs and the schools may accept students from across the state, regardless of their home school district.
Other actions approved by the board:

  • The proposed changes to the Rules for the Annual Inspection and Preventative Maintenance of School Transportation Vehicles
  • The proposed changes to the Rules for the Operation of School Transportation Vehicles
  • Colorado Christian University's request for authorization of its proposed principal preparation program
  • Relay Graduate School of Education's request for authorization to serve as a designated agency for alternative teacher preparation
  • Exams for demonstration of content knowledge and skill for educator licensure endorsements