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General Assessment Information - Colorado Law

Many answers to questions related to the large-scale standardized assessment system in Colorado can be found in these links to Colorado statutes:

Title 22 - EDUCATION

  • Article 7 - Educational Accountability
    • PART 1 - Educational Accountability (22-7-102)
    • PART 4 - Education Reform (22-7-406 and 22-7-409)

Colorado School Law can be found using the numerical system defined in Titles, Articles and Parts. Title 22 is the title defining the responsibility of the state for provisions of education. Part 4 of Article 7 defines the Education Reform statutes in Colorado schools. Statutes are then further outlined using a numbering system of 401, 402, 403, etc.

Statutes related to the development of educational accountability programs are found in Part 1 - Educational Accountability. (Using the numerical system 22-7-102.)

All statutes relating to Colorado STANDARDS are found using this numerical system 22-7-406.

All statutes relating to the measurement of student performance in relation to those standards are found in 22-7-409.

The Assessment Unit in the Colorado Department of Education implements the statutes outlined in Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) 22-7-409.

We encourage you to:

  • Read the laws noted below.
  • Use LexisNexis to read the full citation for both 22-7-406 and 22-7-409. (You will need to look under Title 22 - Education - to find the full citation.)

Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 22-7-102.

Legislative Declaration (Educational Accountability)

  • Declares that the purpose of (Educational Reform related to Standards and Assessments) in Colorado is to institute an accountability system to define and measure academic quality in education and thus to help public schools of Colorado to achieve such quality and to expand the life opportunities and options of the students of this state.
  • Further, a stated purpose is to provide to local school boards and local schools assistance in helping their patrons to determine the relative value of their school program as compared to its cost.

C.R.S. 22-7-102 (1)

  • Further declares that the educational accountability program developed should be designed to measure objectively the quality and efficiency of the educational programs offered by the public schools. C.R.S. 22-7-102 (2)

The program should:

  • develop broad goals
  • identify the activities of schools that can advance students toward these goals
  • develop a means for evaluating the performance of students

It is the belief of the general assembly that developing the evaluation mechanisms will provide for:

  • means for determining whether decisions affecting the educational process are advancing or impeding student achievement,
  • means for reporting to students, parents and the general public on the educational performance of the public schools, and
  • the collection and provision of performance information that could help school districts to increase their efficiency in using available financial resources.

 Colorado Revised Statute 22-7-409.

Assessments Development of the state summative assessments

  • Requires the state to implement the Colorado student assessment program  in the first priority areas of Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Science. C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1)
    • Requires the tests be administered in English
    • Allows the state to administer tests in other languages except that any student who has participated in the English language proficiency program (created pursuant to 22-24-104) for more than a total of three school years must take the English version of the statewide assessments.
  • Requires beginning in the  2014 - 2015 school year a statewide assessment in English language arts in grade 3 through 1.  C.R.S. 22-7-409 (III)(h)
  • Requires beginning in the 2014 - 2015 school year a statewide assessment in mathematics in grades 3 through 8, and three statewide assessments in mathematics in high school. C.R.S. 22-7-409 (III)(i)
  • Requires beginning in the 2013 - 2014 school year a statewide assessment in science once in elementary, once in middle and once in high school.  C.R.S. 22-7-409 (III)(j)
  • Requires beginning in the 2013 - 2014 school year a statewide assessment in social studies once in elementary, once in middle and once in high school.  C.R.S. 22-7-409 (III)(k)

Who must take the tests?

Every student enrolled in a public school is required to take the  assessments in the grade level in which the student is enrolled 
C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.2)(d)(I)

- Excepting those students taking the grade level assessment available in the alternative test - CSAPA.
C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.2) (d) (I) (A)

Colorado ACT

Requires all students enrolled in the eleventh grade in a Colorado public school to take the Colorado ACT. The ACT is the
standardized, curriculum-based, achievement, college entrance examination selected by the department of education pursuant to this
statute meeting the following criteria outlined in the statute  C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.5) (a) :

  • selected by the Colorado Department of Education
  • administered throughout the United States
  • relied upon by institutions of higher education that at a minimum test in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science

Report Cards and Transcripts

Requires the results of the Colorado student assessment program be included on each student's final report card for that school
year and shall be part of the student's permanent academic record.
C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.9)

  • This means including a hard copy of the test results in the students' cumulative files.
  • Districts are including the results on the first report card after receiving the test results - fall of the next school year.

Requires the results of the Colorado ACT (COACT) be included on  each student's transcript. C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.9)

Assessments in the Spanish Language

Colorado Law C.R.S. 22-7-409

Requires the state to administer reading assessments in Spanish for students enrolled in the third and fourth grades and a writing
assessment in Spanish for students enrolled in the fourth grade.  C.R.S. 22-7-409 (3.5) (a)

Requires the state to administer writing assessments in Spanish for students enrolled in the third grades if NCLB funds are sufficient to pay  for this assessment. C.R.S. 22-7-409 (3.5) (b)

Law regarding CSAPA/CoAlt:

Colorado Law 22-7-409 (5) (A)

(A) Any student who is eligible for the state's alternate assessment for students with disabilities, also known as the "CSAP-A", or other assessment approved by rule by the board according to the annual review of the student's individual educational program pursuant to section 22-20-108; except that the results of any CSAP-A or other approved assessment shall be reported to the department and aggregated separately for each school;


Regulations: Part 300 / B / 300.160 / a
(a) General. A State must ensure that all children with disabilities are included in all general State and district-wide assessment programs, including assessments described under section 1111 of the ESEA, 20 U.S.C. 6311, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments, if necessary, as indicated in their respective IEPs.

Regulations: Part 300 / B / 300.160 / c

(c) Alternate assessments

(1) A State (or, in the case of a district-wide assessment, an LEA) must develop and implement alternate assessments and guidelines for the participation of children with disabilities in alternate assessments for those children who cannot participate in regular assessments, even with accommodations, as indicated in their respective IEPs, as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.

Laws regarding English Language Proficiency:

ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION (NCLB) Title III: Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students Public Law 107-110

Subpart 2 — Accountability and Administration

(d) EVALUATIONMEASURES-A State shall approve evaluation measures for use under subsection (c) that are designed to assess —

(1) the progress of children in attaining English proficiency, including a child's level of comprehension, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in English;

(2) student attainment of challenging State student academic achievement standards on assessments described in section 1111(b)(3); and

(3) progress in meeting the annual measurable achievement objectives described in section 3122.

Colorado Law C.R.S. 22-24-105.

Requires each district and the state charter school institute to:

(a) Identify, through the observations and recommendations of parents, teachers, or other persons, students whose dominant language may not be English;

(b) (I) Assess such students, using the entire instrument or technique approved by the department, to determine if their dominant language is not English.

(c) Certify each year to the department those students in the district or in institute charter schools whose dominant language is not English, including specification of the number of non-English languages identified as dominant languages and of the number of students who speak each non-English language as their dominant language;

(d) Administer and provide programs for students whose dominant language is not English.

(2) The assessment described in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section and the certification described in paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of this section shall be conducted on at least an annual basis and each district and the state charter school institute shall present the results there from to the department for inclusion in the relevant annual report of achievement of accreditation indicators required by section 22-11-105.

Colorado Law C.R.S. 22-24-106

Requires the department to:

(a) Develop and approve a single instrument or technique to be used by districts and the state charter school institute in identifying eligible students; [W-APT]

(a.3) Establish statewide levels of proficiency on the entire instrument or technique approved pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (1);

(a.7) Establish, by rule, any accommodations that shall be allowed and in what situations accommodations shall be allowed for an eligible student when such student is taking an assessment pursuant to section 22-7-409;

(c) Audit the identification and testing procedures used by the districts and the state charter school institute and evaluate the effectiveness of the programs conducted by districts and the state charter school institute;

(d) Determine which students are to be counted as eligible for purposes of calculating the district's or the state charter school institute's entitlement; [ACCESS for ELLs is one data point]

(f) Disaggregate testing data to track the academic progress of students who have been identified as having a dominant language other than English but who have been enrolled in a public school of the state for three years or longer or have subsequently been assessed as proficient in English.

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