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News Release - State Board approves ratings for Colorado schools

Dec. 12, 2018

State Board approves ratings for Colorado schools

68 percent of schools earned state's top accountability designation

DENVER – The majority of Colorado public schools received the highest rating in the state’s accountability system this year after approval Wednesday from the State Board of Education in its monthly meeting.
A total of 611,268 students, or 70 percent of the state's public school students, attend one of the 1,239 schools that received a Performance Plan designation.

To download the complete list of district accreditation ratings and school plan types in an Excel spreadsheet format, visit the Performance Frameworks Results webpage. The school ratings will also be posted in Schoolview by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.

“The state’s accountability system is built on the premise that all students should receive a high quality education and graduate ready for college or careers,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s education commissioner. “Our goal is to give all students a chance to excel. These designations allow us to identify struggling schools that may need more support to help students achieve their highest aspirations. And they also highlight successful schools so that other schools can learn from them.”

All schools annually receive a School Performance Framework report based on performance on various common indicators, including student achievement and growth on state tests. High schools are also rated on graduation, dropout and matriculation data. The Education Accountability Act of 2009 requires an annual review of district and school performance. The accountability system is intended to provide a statewide comparison of student performance that highlights areas of success and areas for improvement.

Schools receive one of the following ratings, or plan type assignments:

  • Performance Plan: The school meets or exceeds statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Improvement Plan: The school approaches or meets statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Priority Improvement Plan: The school does not meet statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Turnaround Plan: The school does not meet statewide attainment on the performance indicators.
  • Insufficient State Data: Low Participation: The school did not have enough data due to low participation on state tests to be able to report performance data, or the school had below 85 percent participation rate in two or more content areas, and the district requested an Insufficient State Data: Low Participation rating.

In total, 1,239 schools (67.7 percent) received the highest rating, Performance Plan, and 387 schools (21.2 percent) received the second-highest rating, Improvement Plan. A total of 118 schools (7 percent) received Priority Improvement Plan, 45 schools (2.5 percent) were assigned Turnaround Plan and 40 schools (2.2 percent) had Insufficient State Data due to low participation on state tests.

About 68 percent of charter schools earned Performance Plans, and 36 percent of the state’s online schools received Performance Plans, compared to 67 percent of non-charter and 68 percent of non-online schools.

The majority of all schools (68 percent or 1,227 schools) received the same plan type as they did in 2017. A total of 13.7 percent of schools (247 schools) improved by one or more plan type levels, while 15 percent of schools (271 schools) dropped one or more levels.

Request to Reconsider Process

Districts requested reconsideration of plan types for a total of 164 schools. Staff at CDE recommended approval of 117 requests, partial approval for two schools and denial of 45 requests. A summary of all of the requests and recommendations is available on CDE's website.


In order to help users interpret results, the descriptor of “Low Participation” is added to school plan types and district ratings for those schools and districts that had 95 percent or lower participation rates on assessments in two or more content areas. This includes students formally excused from tests by their parents. Because low participation can impact the overall results, it is important to consider the participation rates on state assessments when reviewing the results on the framework. The descriptor “Meets Participation” is added to school plan types and district ratings for those schools and districts that had at or above 95 percent participation rates on assessments in two or more content areas.
Twenty-four schools, or 1 percent, had their final ratings decreased due to accountability participation rates below 95 percent in two or more content areas. Those students did not receive formal excusals by their parents. According to a State Board of Education motion, schools and districts cannot be held liable for low participation from students who received formal parental excusals.

After the request to reconsider process, 40 schools received a rating of “insufficient state data: low participation.” A total of 387 schools received their plan ratings with a “low participation” description due to participation rates lower than 95 percent on two or more subject areas, including students with parental excusals.

Accountability clock

Schools with the lowest two ratings of Priority Improvement and Turnaround go on the “Accountability Clock.” Those that are on the clock for more than five years receive specific direction from the State Board of Education for a pathway to pursue.
This year, 97 schools earned their way off of the “Accountability Clock” by earning a higher plan type. A total of 18 schools that had entered Year 3 to Year 7 with 2017 ratings, exited based on 2018 ratings, including two schools that had entered Year 6: Manaugh Elementary (Montezuma-Cortez), and Martinez Elementary (Greeley 6) and three that had entered Year 7: Bessemer Elementary School (Pueblo City 60), HOPE Online Learning Academy Middle School (Douglas County RE 1) and Prairie Heights Middle School (Greeley 6).

Three schools will enter Year 5 on the clock beginning July 1, 2018: Manual High School (Denver County 1), Montbello Career and Technical High School (Denver County 1), Mesa Elementary School (Montezuma-Cortez RE-1), and one school will be held at Year 5 with an Insufficient State Data: Low Participation Rating: EDCSD Colorado Cyber School (Douglas). If these schools receive a Priority Improvement or Turnaround rating next year, the state board will need to direct action for local boards to take during the 2019-2020 school year.

Two schools will enter Year 6 on the clock: Central Elementary (Adams County 14) and Minnequa Elementary School (Pueblo City 60). The board must direct action for the local boards to take before June 30, 2019. Possible actions can include school closure, turning a district-run school into a charter school, working with an external management partner and seeking “innovation status” for a school or network of schools that could provide waivers from certain state and local rules.
A total of six schools entered Year 8 on the clock: Risley International Academy of Innovation (Pueblo City 60), Aurora Central High (Adams-Arapahoe 28J), Aguilar Junior-Senior High (Aguilar Reorganized 6), HOPE Online Learning Academy Elementary (Douglas County RE 1), Heroes Middle (Pueblo City 60), and Adams City High (Adams County 14). The State Board of Education initially directed action for the local boards of these schools in spring 2017. More recently, the state board directed additional action for Adams 14 School District and Pueblo City Schools. The state board will reconsider the actions for the other schools in the fall of 2019, if those schools continue to receive a Priority Improvement or Turnaround rating.  
All schools and districts are required to submit an improvement plan annually. CDE reviews all Priority Improvement and Turnaround Plans. The plans include trends, root causes, targets, improvement strategies, resources, interim measures and implementation benchmarks.The 2019 school and district improvement plans will be posted in SchoolView.

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