Colorado’s long-term goals are disconnected from the state’s vision.
The vision lays out the priorities of all students demonstrating readiness for school, third-grade reading proficiency, meeting or exceeding standards throughout their schooling years, and graduating high school ready for college and careers.
However, the state’s plan does not set long-term goals for students’ early preparation, includes average scale scores rather than a proficiency measure, and does not include any goals for college and career readiness.
The enumerated long-term vision is also disconnected from the state’s system for classifying school performance.
Colorado has not set clear long-term goals or interim targets to reach its vision.
The state has proposed a confusing percentile-based system that intends to raise the statewide performance from the 50th to the 53rd percentile. This is:
- Difficult for parents, educators, and the public to understand
- Does not set strong expectations for all schools and all groups of students to improve
- May not be ambitious improvement because the plan does not provide any information about the percentage of students meeting grade-level standards at that performance level.
Colorado’s proficiency and graduation rate goals are similarly unclear.
As written, Colorado expects children with disabilities, who currently score at the 1st percentile statewide, to score at the 53rd percentile in six years. That would be an impressive gain, but Colorado also expects Asian students, who currently score at the 82nd percentile statewide, to regress backward to the same 53rd percentile within six years.
In contrast, Colorado has set graduation rate goals using objective data on past performance. The state set a goal of increasing its graduation rate to 90.3 percent within a six-year time frame, based on its analysis of what the state has achieved in recent years. But unlike the percentile approach, which is normative, graduation rate gains are based on actual, observed changes over time against a predefined threshold. The state should apply a similar approach to its achievement goals.
Lastly, Colorado’s plan lacks information and specificity about historical English-language proficiency performance, goals, and interim targets.