District 51 near its testing goals

A new system for rating Colorado school districts shows School District 51 has room for improvement but is close to meeting state goals for academic growth and achievement.

The new rating system, called performance frameworks, replaced the state’s accreditation process and school accountability reports, which rated schools based on how many students in each district scored proficient or better on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.

Year-over-year growth in CSAP scores and indicators of post-high-school readiness (ACT scores, drop-out rate and graduation rate) each account for 35 percent of a performance framework rating. CSAP scores and gaps in CSAP growth between certain student populations each account for 15 percent of a district’s score.

Performance frameworks were released this week, and District 51 collected an “accredited with improvement” rating, which means by Jan. 17 the district must submit to the state a plan detailing how it plans to improve, mostly on its graduation rate and in closing achievement-growth gaps. All districts have to submit some sort of plan for continuing or speeding growth and good scores, but only schools assigned a priority improvement plan or turnaround plan need to have their plans adopted by the state board of education.

District 51 was one of 47 districts asked to write an improvement plan, meaning it met between 52 and 64 percent of the state’s goals for achievement and growth. Ninety-seven districts were accredited, meaning they met at least 64 percent of state goals, and 14 were accredited with distinction, meaning they met 80 percent or more of the state’s goals. Seventeen schools met 42 to 52 percent of the framework goals and will write “priority” improvement plans, and seven received a “turnaround” rating, meaning they met fewer than 42 percent of the goals.

Bill Larsen, District 51 executive director of high schools, said district leaders are examining ways to boost the district’s score into the accredited zone, where at least 64 percent of the state’s goals for growth and achievement must be met. The district currently meets 60.5 percent of those goals.

District 51 Executive Director of Elementary Schools Andy Laase predicts that gap will be overcome with this spring’s CSAP scores and graduation rate.

“I’m confident we’ll be accredited next year,” he said.

Performance frameworks by school were released last month. All but three of District 51’s schools were assigned improvement or “performance” plans, meaning the schools were on the right track.


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