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News Release - Board approves ratings for Colorado schools

Jan. 26, 2017

Board approves ratings for Colorado schools

DENVER - About 87 percent of Colorado’s 1,716 public schools received the two highest ratings in the state’s accountability system after approval from the State Board of Education in a special meeting today.
All schools annually receive a School Performance Framework report based on performance on various common indicators, including student achievement and growth on state tests and graduation, dropout and matriculation rates for high schools. The Education Accountability Act of 2009 created the system, which was intended to provide a statewide comparison of student performance that highlights success and areas for improvement.
Schools receive one of the following ratings, or plan type assignments:

  • Performance Plan: The school meets or exceeds statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Improvement Plan: The school approaches or meets statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Priority Improvement Plan: The school does not meet statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Turnaround Plan: The school does not meet statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Insufficient State Data: Low Participation: The school had below 85 percent participation rate in two or more content areas, which resulted in insufficient data to determine a rating.

In all, 1,499 of the state’s public schools (87.4 percent) were assigned Performance Plan or Improvement Plan. A total of 105 public schools (6.1 percent) were assigned Priority Improvement Plan and 56 were assigned Turnaround Plan (3.3 percent). And 56 schools (3.3 percent) had insufficient data due to low participation on statewide tests. Results were also shared for online and charter schools.
Alternative Education Campus (AEC) results showed an increase in the percent of schools with AEC Performance and AEC Improvement plans with a decrease with AEC Turnaround plans. Nearly 90 percent of charter schools earned Performance or Improvement plans.
And 58.2 percent of online schools received Performance or Improvement plans, compared to 87.7 percent of non-online schools.
The majority of all schools (66.5 percent or 1,105 schools) received the same plan type in 2016 as they did in 2014 the last time School Performance Frameworks were issued. The state took a one-year hiatus from calculating performance plans in 2015 to allow time to adjust to the new assessments. A total of 14.5 percent of schools (241 schools) improved by one or more plan type levels from 2014, while 15.8 percent of schools (261 schools) dropped one or more levels.
Request to Reconsider Process
Districts requested reconsideration of plan types for a total of 239 schools, including Denver Public Schools’ requests for lower ratings on 50 schools. Staff at CDE recommended approval of 175 requests, partial approval for four schools and denial of 60 requests. A full summary of all of the requests and recommendations is posted on CDE’s website.
In order to help users interpret results, the descriptor of “Low Participation” was added to school plan types and district ratings for those schools and districts that had 95 percent or lower participation rates on assessments in two or more content areas. This includes students formally excused from tests by their parents. Because low participation can impact the overall results, it is important to consider the participation rates on state assessments when reviewing the results on the framework.
A total of 30 schools had their final ratings decreased due to accountability participation rates below 95 percent in two or more content areas.Those students did not receive formal excusals by their parents. According to a State Board of Education motion, schools and districts cannot be held liable for low participation from students who received formal parental excusals.
A total of 56 schools received a rating of “insufficient state data” because the number of students was too small to complete the necessary accountability requirements or the data included did not necessarily represent all students in the school. A total of 26 schools were approved for insufficient data through the request to reconsider process. And 533 schools received their plan ratings with a “low participation” description due to participation rates lower than 95 percent on two or more subject areas, including students with parental excusals.
Accountability Clock
Schools with the lowest two ratings of Priority Improvement and Turnaround go on the “Accountability Clock.” Those that are on the clock for more than five years receive specific direction from the State Board of Education for a pathway to pursue.
A total of 12 schools will enter Year 6 on the clock beginning on July 1: Risley International Academy of Innovation (Pueblo City 60), Aurora Central High (Adams-Arapahoe 28J), Aguilar Junior-Senior High (Aguilar Reorganized 6), Hope Online Learning Academy Middle (Douglas County RE 1), Hope Online Learning Academy Elementary (Douglas County RE 1), Franklin Middle School (Greeley 6), Prairie Heights Middle (Greeley 6), Peakview School (Huerfano RE-1), Destinations Career Academy of Colorado (Julesburg RE-1), Bessemer Elementary (Pueblo City 60), Heroes Middle (Pueblo City 60), Adams City High (Adams County 14).
The board must direct action for the local board to take before June 30. Possible actions can include school closure, turning a district-run school into a charter school, working with an external management partner and seeking “innovation status” for a school or network of schools that could provide waivers from certain state and local rules.
In 2010, 204 schools were identified for Priority Improvement or Turnaround school plans. Of those 204 schools, just 12 remain on the Accountability Clock.
Seven schools will be entering Year 5 on the clock beginning July 1: Justice High (Denver), Contemporary Learning Academy (Denver), Greenlee Elementary (Denver), Martinez Elementary (Greeley 6), Manaugh Elementary (Montezuma-Cortez RE-1), New America School – Thornton (Charter School Institute), Brighton Heritage Academy (School District 27J). The state board must direct action for the local board to take before June 30, 2018, if these schools remain on the clock next year.
All schools and districts are required to submit an improvement plan annually. CDE reviews all Priority Improvement and Turnaround Plans. The plans include trends, root causes, targets, improvement strategies, resources, interim measures and implementation benchmarks. The 2016 school and district improvement plans will be posted in SchoolView.
For a complete list of district accreditation ratings and school plan types, visit the CDE's accountability website.