Colorado’s plan is missing weights for indicators.
Without proposed weights for indicators, it is difficult to determine whether Colorado’s schools will be identified in an advisable manner.
Whenever those weights are finalized, Colorado plans to rank all schools based on the total percentage of points earned.
Colorado’s definition of “consistently underperforming” subgroups is concerning.
Colorado uses the same methodology to account for subgroups of students as it does to identify the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools. A school with a subgroup in the lowest 5 percent for that subgroup will be identified for additional targeted support.
The state’s definition of a “consistently underperforming” subgroup as one that earns the “lowest rating” on at least three indicators is concerning for several reasons:
- First, no information is provided regarding what level of performance will constitute the “lowest rating.”
- Second, if a school has a subgroup underperforming in math and English achievement, it would still need to also earn the lowest rating on a third indicator to be labeled for targeted support.
- Further, it is not clear in the plan the difference in definitions between “consistently underperforming” and “chronically low performing” subgroups.
More information is needed when it comes to establishing performance expectations.
Colorado’s performance expectations are normative, which means schools are compared to each other, not against set expectations. It is unclear if the performance bands they set stay static or change over time, and over what time period. If they change annually, that artificially “forces” schools to the bottom and the top of the spectrum, which could send inappropriate signals to stakeholders.
The plan’s proposal to exclude students whose parents opted them out of state assessments in accountability determinations could also undermine the state’s school-rating system. The state could strengthen its plan by identifying schools in need of comprehensive support and improvement using the four-year graduation rate, not the extended rate, as the state proposes.