Test scores improve a tad; district still under state par

Test score growth helped School District 51 climb a tiny bit closer this year to meeting statewide expectations for academic performance and growth.

The Colorado Department of Education introduced Performance Frameworks as an evaluation system for districts in 2010.

Frameworks reports generate a total score for a district based on how many district students perform at or above grade level on current year Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests, how much students and certain subgroups improve their TCAP scores year-over-year, and how well a district prepares students for post-secondary and workforce readiness.

The readiness measure is based on ACT scores for 11th-graders, the district’s overall dropout and graduation rates, and how close the gap is between graduation rates for the general student population and students with disabilities, English Language Learners, minorities, and students who receive free or reduced-price school lunches.

District 51 received a frameworks score of 62.3 percent this year, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 2011.

Districts have to create either a plan for staying the course if they meet at least 64 percent of state expectations for growth and performance or create a plan for improving scores.

Because its score is below 64 percent, District 51 has been required to write an improvement plan all three years the frameworks system has existed.

Districts with a frameworks score below 52 percent but above 42 percent have to create a priority improvement plan, and districts with a frameworks score below 42 percent have to create a turnaround plan.

The state board of education can revoke accreditation, convert schools to charter schools or close schools in districts that qualify for either of these plan types for more than five consecutive years.

There are no consequences for a district being on an improvement plan for numerous years.

The increase to 62.3 percent was based on improved growth in TCAP scores for the district overall and among subgroups.

The district meanwhile saw a slight dip year-over-year in students scoring proficient or better on TCAP tests.

District 51 Executive Director of Academic Achievement Jody Mimmack said during a presentation to the district’s School Board last Tuesday that she believes proficiency will tick up as more students gradually grow up from unsatisfactory and partially proficient TCAP scores over the next few years.

“Achievement always follows growth,” she told the board.

Despite a year-over-year increase in ACT scores and graduation rate and another year with a dropout rate below the state average, District 51 also met fewer targets in 2012 compared to 2011 in post-secondary and workforce readiness.

The comparison isn’t entirely apples-to-apples because the state this year added examination of subgroup graduation rates to the list of items that determine a district’s post-secondary score.


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