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News Release - State Board Discusses Assessments

Oct. 18, 2012

State board discusses assessments in science, social studies, English language arts and mathematics

Board also recognizes outstanding educators

The Colorado State Board of Education met for a regularly scheduled meeting yesterday. Highlights from the meeting include:

New Assessment Update

Staff provided the board with an update on the new content assessments being implemented in 2014 for science and social studies and in 2015 for English language arts and mathematics.

Science and social studies:

  • The new science tests will be administered in grades 5, 8 and once in high school and social studies in grades 4, 7 and once in high school.
  • The new science and social studies tests are intended to be administered online.
  • Tests will include selected response items, constructed response items, and – for the first time – simulations and performance-based tasks. Staff previewed several samples of these more interactive and engaging performance tasks.
  • In order for local districts to administer the science and social studies assessments online, an online readiness survey is being administered. Each district has identified a district technology coordinator who will complete the survey.
  • There will be opportunities for districts to be involved in the development of the new tests including item writing, item review, cognitive labs, field testing, anchor paper selection and data review.

English language arts and mathematics:

  • Colorado serves on the Governing Board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) which is creating tests in English language arts and mathematics for states to use grades 3-11 beginning in the spring of 2015.
  • Sample assessment items from the PARCC system can be viewed here.

To view the full presentation, click here.

Update on the Colorado Content Collaboratives

Staff updated the board on the progress on the Colorado Content Collaboratives, a four-year initiative of P-12 educators from around the state coming together to identify and review the creation of fair, valid, and reliable measures of student learning, which are aligned to the new Colorado Academic Standards and may be used in the context of Educator Effectiveness evaluations.

  • Cohort I Collaboratives for Dance, Drama & Theatre Arts, Music, Reading, Writing & Communicating, Social Studies and Visual Arts began their work on Feb. 1 and concluded their initial identification and review of assessments in July. They will be reconvening this fall to refine their work and address areas where there is a lack of approved assessments.
  • Cohort II Collaboratives for Comprehensive Health, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, World Languages, and Career and Technical Education began their work on July 23 and are expected to conclude their initial identification and review of assessments in November.

The assessments identified by the Content Collaboratives will be available through a resource bank that will be launched in late fall. To learn more about the Content Collaborative work, click here.

Recognition of Colorado’s Outstanding Educators

The board recognized Barbara Allen, a social studies teacher at the Denver School of the Arts, for receiving the National History Day Teacher of the Year Award. National History Day is a year-long academic program focused on historical research for sixth to 12th-grade students. Allen said that through National History Day, she has been able to “work her passion.” For more information, visit

The board also honored Andrea Wiseman and Amy Hanson with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Both teachers in Denver Public Schools, Wiseman is from Denver School of the Arts and received the award for mathematics and Hanson is from East High School and received the award for science. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. To read the White House press release, visit

State Board of Education 2013 Legislative Priorities

The board engaged in a rich discussion on the draft State Board of Education Legislative Priorities. The board decided to make additional refinements and adopt the final priorities at a future meeting.

ACT High School Graduating Class Report

Staff reviewed the Graduating Class of 2012 ACT Profile Report. Colorado ranks fourth when compared with other states for its average composite score of 20.6. Liberty Common Charter School in Ft. Collins, Colo. was recognized for achieving the highest average composite score in Colorado of 27.5.

Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee Annual Report

Staff gave a presentation on its annual report regarding the committee’s activities, including recommendations to the State Board of Education for improving services and outcomes for students with disabilities in Colorado. To view the presentation, click here.

Rulemaking Hearings

The board approved rules establishing the grant application timeline and process for the administration of the Early Literacy Grant Program, pursuant to the 2012 READ Act. The Early Literacy Grant Program provides funding to local education providers to implement literacy support and intervention instruction programs, including professional development programs and assistance to students in kindergarten first, second, and third grades to achieve reading competency.

The board approved three notices of rulemaking:

  • Rules for the Administration of the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act
  • Rules for the Authorization of Charter Schools and Charter School Collaboratives as School Food Authorities
  • Rules for the Administration of the Colorado Educator Licensing Act of 1991

State Revenue Forecast

Assistant Commissioner of School Finance Leanne Emm provided an overview of the September revenue forecasts as presented by the Legislative Council and Office of State Planning and Budgeting staff on September 20. Economic indicators point to a slowdown in economic growth. This is likely due in part to slowing in the global economy and continued uncertainty among businesses and consumers. It is anticipated that the State Education Fund will receive a substantial transfer pursuant to House Bill 12-1338 at the end of the year. This increased transfer may accommodate funding inflation and growth for 2013-14. If the state were able to fund inflation and growth with an associated increase in local share, then it is expected that the statewide average per pupil funding would also increase. The next revenue forecast will come out in December. To read the full September forecast, visit and

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