School accountability revised

School District 51 parents will have a fresh way to judge their children’s schools this December when a new accountability report debuts to the public.

Unlike previous measures of school performance, which rated Colorado schools based on how many students scored proficient or above on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, the new School Performance Frameworks report will take into account how students improved year-over-year on CSAP tests, as well as how many students scored proficient or above on the tests. High schools will be rated on these factors as well as graduation rate, drop-out rate and average ACT scores of 11th-graders at the schools.

A system that takes into account how much students improve will help schools with more disadvantaged kids, and with fewer proficient or better students, show what they are doing right to help students improve, even if they don’t reach proficiency, District 51 Director of Assessment Sean Taylor said.

“It will give those schools a chance to show what they’re doing with each kid. It levels the playing field,” he said.

Superintendent Steve Schultz said the new system “is not perfect, but it’s a major step forward.”

The frameworks reports will replace School Accountability Reports and accreditation, which were done away with in order to align with the Education Accountability Act of 2009. This will be the first school year without School Accountability Reports, which listed various information on academics and demographics in a school, and accreditation, which measured the quality of schools based on district-created requirements.

Adequate Yearly Progress, a third established accountability measure for Colorado schools, will continue to be reported. Schools make, or don’t make,  adequate yearly progress a yes or no question based on whether they meet a set of goals set by the federal government.


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