Across the Street column: Comparing school performance over time |

Across the Street column: Comparing school performance over time

Joyce Rankin
Larry Laszlo

School is underway, and a highlight of the August State Board of Education meeting was to review students’ achievement measures from last year and to assess how teachers might proceed to move forward this year.

Preliminary results from the 2018 assessments were revealed to the public in August. All of the school and district scores appear on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website. You can review all of the district and school results and results broken down by a variety of subgroups. Overall students in Colorado are continuing to improve, although, according to Commissioner Katy Anthes, we continue to see wide achievement gaps among subgroups. The department is discussing how best to support districts and schools to ensure that our education system reaches all students.

Reviewing all of the 178 school districts and approximately 1,800 schools in Colorado one can quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available. In order to gain a better understanding of Western Slope schools, I focused on the school Frameworks for the area I represent, the 3rd Congressional District. The school frameworks are a way to hold schools accountable for performance on a consistent set of indicators and measures and allow the department to understand how and where to provide support for the lowest performing schools. Key indicators include academic achievement, growth and postsecondary workforce readiness.

The school plan categories include, from high to low in this order, Performance, Improvement Plan, Priority Improvement and Turnaround. After the preliminary results are released schools have an opportunity to meet with the Colorado Department of Education for a “request to reconsider.” This allows schools to adjust for incorrectly submitted information or those that have questions and need additional time to meet with CDE to refine their effort.

Because Frameworks have been recorded since 2010, we now have information to compare schools over time, which is valuable for schools, districts and the department. In the district I represent 11 schools have moved into the top two performance plan areas. Thanks to our teachers, parents and students, schools in our district are moving in the right direction. The request-to-reconsider process is extremely important in determining the final ratings, which are scheduled to be made available in November.

I encourage taxpayers to visit the website and learn more about their local schools. And parents, you have specific student related test scores and important information that you can receive directly from your child’s school.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you on the State Board of Education. It’s an honor to serve the 3rd Congressional District.

Joyce Rankin is a member of the State Board of Education. The Department of Education is located across the street from the Capitol. “Across the Street” will appear monthly.

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