In an effort to improve the quality of education provided to all students in the state, Colorado has: adopted new academic standards that represent what students should know and be able to do at each level of their schooling; implemented school and district accountability strategies that are tied to unified improvement planning; and adopted standards for educators who will be evaluated annually. The power of these education improvement efforts lies in their integration and the shared purpose of continuously improving student learning and preparing students for success in a globally competitive world by raising student achievement levels. It is important to recognize the interdependence of each of these strategies so that they can be implemented as parts of a cohesive and aligned system. It is also important to ensure that these strategies address how all educators in the system, individually and collectively, can contribute to the desired outcomes for Colorado students.
The focus of this guidance is on the student academic growth requirements outlined in Senate Bill 10-191 (S.B. 10-191), the Great Teachers and Leaders Act. S.B. 10-191 requires that 50 percent of an educator’s evaluation be based on educator impact on multiple measures of student learning in relation to the Colorado Academic Standards. In Colorado, the term academic growth is closely associated with results from the Colorado Growth Model (CGM) in the School and District Performance Frameworks. The phrase measures of student learning is used throughout this document to ensure districts understand that evaluating student learning is not confined to results from the CGM, but is inclusive of results from multiple types of measures.
Measures of student learning may include Colorado Growth Model (CGM) results as well as results from other state assessments, district assessments and teacher-developed assessments. Multiple types of assessments may also be used to generate results from goal or target setting processes.
There are four basic requirements outlined in State Board Rules that districts should consider when designing educator evaluation systems to incorporate the results from multiple measures of student learning. The first two requirements are specific to attribution (who has contributed to the results). The third and fourth requirements pertain to the inclusion of statewide summative results. It is important to note that the third and fourth requirements may be applied either individually or collectively as illustrated in Table 1 below.
Table 1: State Requirements
Requirement 1: Individual Attribution
Student results on a measure are attributed to one licensed person.
(Example: The class performance on a history final may be used as a part of a target setting process with the results attributed to the history teacher who taught the students who took the assessment.)
Requirement 2: Collective Attribution
Student results on a measure are attributed to more than one licensed person.
(Example: The TCAP reading results in an elementary school may be attributed to all teachers in the school as reflected in the targets section of the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) or the results agreed upon in an SLO process for all teachers in that grade.)
Requirement 3: Statewide Summative Assessment Results, when available
Include when available and appropriately connected to the subject, grade and course (could be used for individual and/or collective attribution)
Requirement 4: Results from Colorado Growth Model (CGM), when available
Include for subjects and grade levels with annual statewide summative assessment results in two consecutive years. CGM results may be attributed to individual teachers as well as teams of educators who contribute to the growth of students in a district, school or subject area (could be used for individual and/or collective attribution). CDE is developing guidance for districts on considerations for using CGM results in educator evaluation.
A Note to Readers:
For many assessments, districts will need to work with their teachers to establish student learning objectives (SLOs).
Student learning objectives involve a participatory method of setting measurable goals or objectives for a specific assignment or class aligned with the subject matter taught and that allows for the evaluation of the baseline performance of students and the measureable gain in student performance during the course of instruction (1 CCR 301-87 -1.23). CDE is currently developing resources to support districts using SLOs in educator evaluations (see Textbox 1 below).
Textbox 1: State Requirements
A process for creating Student Learning Objectives enables educators to utilize academic standards to establish learning outcomes for individual or groups of students, monitor students’ progress toward these outcomes and evaluate the degree to which students achieve these outcomes using relevant, meaningful measures (see CTAC, 2011; Goe & Holdheide, 2011; Marion & Buckley, 2011; Goe, 2012).
The active involvement of teachers in supporting student learning is the defining feature of a process for creating SLOs. The design of the process reflects good teaching practices such as setting clear learning targets, differentiating instruction for students, monitoring students’ progress toward these targets, using student learning data to adjust instruction, reflecting on professional practice, and evaluating the extent to which students have met the targets. In other words, the process for creating SLOs is an instructional improvement process driven by teachers in all grades and subjects. The essential components of a process for creating SLOs include:
- Using the Colorado Academic Standards to establish goals for student learning
- Determining what assessment instrument(s) will be used to measure student learning in relation to the learning goals at the end of the instructional period, specifying scoring approaches, and evaluating the quality of the assessment instrument(s)
- Monitoring student learning (formative practice) throughout the instructional period
- Reflecting on and refining the process for creating learning goals or targets
- Collecting and analyzing baseline data about student learning in relationship to the learning goal(s) set for students with similar initial performance and to inform target and scale setting for groups of students
- Determining attainment of student performance targets
Because the process for creating learning goals asks teachers to start with the academic standards, to set targets based on what they know about their students, and to reflect continuously on instructional practices in order to facilitate student mastery, it connects authentically with educator evaluation systems. To support districts, CDE is currently developing a sample process for using Student Learning Objective results as measures of student learning for evaluation purposes.