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News Release - State Board and Higher Education Unanimously Adopt State Assessment Attributes

Nov. 30, 2010

News Release

Colorado State Board Of Education And Colorado Commission On Higher Education Unanimously Adopt State Assessment Attributes

The Colorado State Board of Education and Colorado Commission on Higher Education yesterday unanimously adopted attributes for the state’s new assessment system.

“We are here today to take another important step in creating a truly aligned P-20 educational system in Colorado,” said State Board Member Peggy Littleton, representing the 5th Congressional District.

Deputy Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond and CCHE Executive Director Rico Munn facilitated the meeting.

The state agencies adopted the mutual agreement regarding Colorado’s Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Assessment System. View the agreement at

“Colorado’s new assessment system will signal mastery of PWR Colorado Academic Standards at grade level,” according to the document’s vision statement. “As the Colorado Academic Standards reflect both knowledge and application of skills as expressed in the description of postsecondary and workforce readiness (PWR), the new assessment system will also measure progress toward PWR. It will be designed to produce meaningful results which will be both easy to understand and applicable to students, parents and educators.”

The recommended assessment system attributes are broken into five categories:

  1. A state summative assessment will measure at least math and English language arts in grades 3 through 11. Science and social studies will be measured at least once in elementary, middle and high school. Test results will be included on student transcripts. The SBE and CCHE will agree on what specific scores indicate college readiness.
  2. Formative (ongoing) assessment will be used to determine progress toward student mastery and inform classroom instruction.
  3. Interim (benchmark) tests will gauge student progress over time within a year.
  4. Early childhood measures, which are aligned to the postsecondary and workforce readiness standards, will be applied. Mastery of the standards in grades 1 and 2 will be expected.
  5. Other postsecondary measures include use of the Individualized Career and Academic Plan (ICAP). A dashboard visual display will capture P-20 student progress. The results will be shared to inform continuous improvement and can be used for high school, as well as college and career eligibility and guidance.

The two groups agreed to several changes within the agreement, including a motion from Marcia Neal, state board member from the 3rd Congressional District, to measure social studies once in elementary, middle and high school. Recognizing that all content areas are critical in order to provide a well-rounded education for children, she said, “When the decision was made not to assess social studies, the message that too many schools got was that social studies wasn't important. We have to re-emphasize the importance of social studies.

You may not grow up to be a mathematician but you shouldn't grow up unaware of history, geography, civics and government.”

CCHE Commissioner Allegra “Happy” Haynes said, “We have made this decision together today. We are proceeding together; we are here to support this effort and move forward.”

Other state board members in attendance were Elaine Gantz Berman, 1st Congressional District; Jane Goff, 7th Congressional District; and Angelika Schroeder, 2nd Congressional District.

The CCHE board will ratify the vote at its Thursday, Dec. 2, meeting. The state board of education is scheduled to take action on the remaining attributes of the design on Monday, Dec. 6.

Future work for CCHE and SBE will include coming to agreement on scoring criteria that will help determine when a student has attained PWR, as well as criteria for diploma endorsements. The two groups will also collaborate on setting graduation guidelines and assisting with admission policies


The Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids, requires creation of a new state testing system and specifically assigned the two boards to agree on a broad shape for the program by Dec. 15, 2010. Last year the Colorado Academic Standards were revised to include early school readiness and postsecondary competencies, as well as to reflect both workforce readiness and 21st century skills. They were adopted by the State Board of Education on Dec. 10, 2009 and revised as PWR Colorado Academic Standards on Aug. 2, 2010.

In early November, CDE and DHE concluded the Regional town hall Assessment Revision Tour. The tour consisted of 10 meetings held across the state in order to learn about the draft recommendations for Colorado’s new assessment system. Over 200 Coloradans provided feedback to the departments. To download the summary of the tour results visit

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