State board approves revisions to READ Act rules
The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on March 9. Meeting highlights include:
Board OKs changes to assessments for students in bilingual or dual language programs
The Colorado State Board of Education voted 4-3 to revise the rules for the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act to require kindergarten through third-grade students in bilingual or dual language programs to be assessed in English once a year.
The rule change will affect approximately 6,500 students out of Colorado's 270,000 K-3 students.
"Teachers need to know how their students are progressing in the acquisition of reading in English," said Chairman Steve Durham. "Without that knowledge, we would be doing students a disservice."
The rules still allow districts to choose from among seven tests in English or Spanish, which take between 10 and 45 minutes to complete.
Districts that choose to assess in Spanish must now assess once a year in English to monitor progress. The previous version of the READ Act rules did not require an assessment in English.
The READ Act's assessments identify students who are deficient and the tests are used to establish a plan for intervention services. This new requirement to test in English is not required to be reported or used to create a READ plan.
The READ Act's rules were initially approved in 2013, requiring all students be tested in English to determine significant reading deficiencies. However, concerns were raised about potential misidentification of reading deficiencies among English learners. The Colorado Attorney General's Office in 2014 issued an opinion, saying students who receive literacy instruction in both English and Spanish may be assessed in any board-approved assessment for determining reading deficiencies. The rule change was consistent with that opinion.
Board Approves Kindergarten School Readiness Reporting System
The board in a 6-1 vote approved a new reporting system for kindergarten school readiness, a requirement under the 2008 law Colorado's Achievement Plan for Kids, or CAP4K. The system is intended to provide aggregate-level results of students' kindergarten school readiness and measure overall improvement of school readiness across the state and districts. The system approved by the Board requires districts to submit only aggregate readiness information. Individual student data will not be collected by CDE.
Board Allows Waivers for Cheyenne Mountain School District No. 12
The board unanimously approved a request from the Cheyenne Mountain School No. 12 for a waiver from a state law that requires each school district to administer a school readiness assessment within the first 60 days of the school year for each kindergartner. The district says it will continue to give academic diagnostic exams in literacy, math and writing to determine a baseline screen for developmental domains. The waiver request will be revisited by the board in three years.