Colorado is taking the right steps to ensure that all students are being counted.
The state will not be incorporating subgroup scores directly into its school-rating system, but it does have a plan to identify 5 percent of schools for each of the lowest performing subgroups as schools in need of targeted support. If any particular subgroup continues to flounder for four consecutive years, Colorado will shift those schools into more rigorous, comprehensive support status.
Colorado proposes creating a “super-subgroup” only when the individual racial/ethnic subgroups do not meet the state’s minimum threshold on their own. The plan provides compelling data behind the state’s rationale for using this measure, and limits its use only when necessary.
It is also lowering its n-size, the minimum group size used to determine if schools should be held accountable for the performance of subgroups, from 30 to 16 for achievement and graduation indicators and to 20 for growth indicators – which will ensure more schools are paying attention to more subgroups of students.
Colorado also has a strong plan in place for proposing accountability metrics for its Alternative Education Campuses and for inclusion of extended-year graduation rates to ensure that all students are served, and it could be further improved if the state determined an accountability approach for K-2 schools.
The state has clear plans to help students with disabilities, but could benefit from early screening.
Colorado has done a good job aligning its plan to the IDEA State Systemic Improvement Plan and its IDEA State Personnel Development grant. The state also plans to incorporate Response to Intervention and Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports in all schools. Finally, it describes integration of the Early Childhood workforce, but could benefit from specifically screening students for learning disabilities early to ensure educators incorporate interventions beginning in pre-k.