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Alternative Education Campus Accountability
Alternate Education Campuses (AECs) are schools with specialized missions designed to serve high-risk student populations. The Education Accountability Act of 2009 (SB 09-163) authorizes the Department to conduct a distinct performance review for those schools that meet the definition of an AEC. The state's performance framework for AECs takes into account the unique purposes of the campuses and the unique circumstances of the challenges posed by the students enrolled in the campuses.
Which students are considered high risk students?
AECs have specialized missions, nontraditional methods of instruction delivery, serve students with severe limitations, and have student populations that are comprised of at least 90% high risk students.
High risk students are those who meet one or more of 15 conditions:
Dropped out of school
Expelled from school
History of personal drug or alcohol use
History of personal street gang involvement
- History of child abuse or neglect/foster care
Has a parent or guardian in prison
Has an IEP
Family history of domestic violence
Repeated school suspensions
Pregnant or parenting
History of serious psychiatric or behavioral disorder
Which schools are desginated as AECs?
Below is the list of current AECs as approved by the State Board of Education.
For past AEC designations, please visit the AEC Archive.
How is performance assessed for AECs?
In addition to Academic Achievement, Academic Growth, and Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness, AECs have an additional required measure of Student Engagement, and weightings of measures are slightly different from traditional schools to account for the high-risk population of students served.
What overall ratings are assigned for AECs?
AECs are assigned one of four ratings based on the percentage of points earned across the four performance indicators shown in the pie chart above. Insufficient state data is assigned if there is not enough outcome data to assign a rating.
AEC Performance Plan - AECs with a Performance Plan are meeting expectations on the majority of performance metrics.
AEC Improvement Plan - These AECs are identified as lower performing. They may be meeting expectations on some performance metrics, but they are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on many.
AEC Priority Improvement Plan - These AECs are identified as low performing. They are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on most performance metrics. The state will provide support and oversight to these schools until they improve.
AEC Turnaround Plan - These AECs are identified as among the lowest performing schools in the state. They are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on most performance metrics. The state will provide support and oversight to these schools until they improve.
AEC Insufficient State Data - Historically, the Insufficient State Data plan type has not been assigned to AECs. In 2022, given the lack of required data available, a portion of AECs did not have enough data to meaningfully determine their performance. Insufficient State Data plan types were assigned to AECs using the same criteria used to assign this plan type to non-AEC schools.
Alternative Education Campuses: Overview on AECs in Colorado (Fact Sheet) - March 2018
A fact sheet providing basic information on alternative education campuses in Colorado, including background and history, students served, accountability indicators, and developing improvement strategies.
Alternative Education Campuses: Overview on AECs in Colorado (Webinar) - April 2018
A webinar providing the basics and background on Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) in Colorado. Participants will learn the history of AECs in the state and understand the accountability requirements for AECs.
Alternative Education Campuses: Overview on AECs in Colorado (PPT) - April 2018
A slide deck providing the basics and background on Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) in Colorado. Participants will learn the history of AECs in the state and understand the accountability requirements for AECs.
AEC SPF Annotated Report (PDF) - August, 2019
This document provides context and explanations for how to read the AEC School Performance Framework reports.
HB15-1350: Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Accountability Workgroup Report (PDF) - December 1, 2015
Per HB15-1350, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) was required to form a group of stakeholders from the Alternative Education Campus (AEC) community to gather feedback on the next iteration of Alternative Education Campus accountability, specifically the School Performance Framework to form the Alternative Education Campus Accountability Work Group (AEC AWG). On December 1, 2015, the AEC AWG submitted five written recommendations to the CDE Commissioner, the Education Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the State Board of Education.
1 CCR 301-57, The Administration of Accountability for Alternative Campuses (PDF) - December 15, 2016
On April 13, 2011, the State Board of Education voted to amend rules concerning accountability for Alternative Education Campuses.
Policy and Guidance Documents for AECs
Calculation Guidance for Alternative Education Campuses (PDF) - February 9, 2023
This resource guides schools and districts through the AEC required and optional measures, including definitions and calculation formulas.
NWEA RIT Growth Rank Percentile Tables (Excel) - February 9, 2023
NWEA MAP growth percentile conversion tables based on AEC norms for use in the Selection of Measures process.
NWEA AEC Research Findings to Inform How to Best Articulate the Assessments Use For Purposes of AEC Accountability (PDF) - July 2012
This research paper provides the research-based rationale for the calculation of growth results on the NWEA MAPS assessments using AEC norms.
For past AEC resources, please visit the AEC Archive.
- For information on the AEC collections for school and district staff, please visit our AEC Collections page.
For more information, please contact:
B Sanders, PhD - firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-866-2865
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