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Public Comment Opportunity: SQSS Indicator Metrics

Every state that accepts funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act must have an approved methodology for meaningfully differentiating the performance of and identifying schools for support and improvement. Colorado’s methodology was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 as part of the ESSA State Plan. The following indicators must be used in the identification methodology (for additional details, please visit the CDE website on the ESSA Identification Methodology and Criteria): 

Academic Achievement as measured by performance on state assessments

  • Academic growth on state assessment

  • Graduation Rates

  • Progress on English language proficiency for English learners

  • Indicator(s) of school quality or student success (SQSS)

Prior to submitting the ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval, CDE had worked with various stakeholders to develop the methodology and identify which metrics to use for each of the required components listed above. At that time, stakeholders identified reduction of the chronic absenteeism as one of the SQSS indicators; however, CDE was asked to continue to research other possible metrics to use for this indicator. Since that time, CDE has been working with stakeholders to research other options. 

After taking into consideration availability, reliability, validity, and research-based of numerous options, the following recommendations have been made by stakeholders for CDE to continue to use reduction of chronic absenteeism and add: 

A growth to standard measure, which would measure how students are progressing towards meeting academic standards

  • A metric for measuring school safety or climate, including surveys from families, students, or educators 

Before CDE can adopt and begin using a growth to standard or a measure of school safety or climate, the ESSA State Plan must be revised, reviewed, and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to submitting the revised ESSA State Plan, CDE is seeking public comment on the possibility of adding the above recommended metrics to the SQSS indicator. 

The following PowerPoint and recording provide greater context and background on this matter. 

Please email feedback on the SQSS indicator to Nazanin (Nazie) Mohajeri-Nelson


Public Comment Opportunity: Request for Waiver from Federal Accountability and Reporting Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) released a streamlined template for State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to use to request a waiver from federal accountability and reporting requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, families, schools and districts, CDE is proposing to request this waiver from the ESSA accountability and reporting requirements

Requesting this waiver would allow CDE to not be required to use data from the 2020-2021 school year for identifying schools for support and improvement under ESSA in fall of 2021 and to skip the following requirements for one year: 

  • ​Measuring progress toward long-term goals and interim progress based on state assessments;  
  • Adjusting the academic achievement indicator to hold schools accountable for student participation on state assessments when participation drops below 95%; and
  • Public reporting related to ESSA accountability and school identification.

As part of applying for this waiver, CDE would agree to continue implementing the following ESSA requirements: 

  • ​Report chronic absenteeism to the USDE and publicly; 
  • Publicly report data on student and/or teacher access to technology and high speed internet, to the extent that this data is collected by the CDE or LEAs; 
  • Continue to provide supports and services to schools identified under ESSA for support and improvement in 2019-2020; 
  • Only exit schools that were identified based solely on graduation rates; and 
  • Resume identification of schools for support and improvement under ESSA in fall 2022.

CDE received input on the draft waiver request for submission to the USDE. For any questions about the waiver request, please email:

U.S. Department of Education Issues Template and Guidance for States to Update ESSA State Plans

On Oct. 20, 2020, the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) provided states with a draft state plan addendum document that outlines the flexibility available to states to request changes to their ESSA plans  due to the absence of 2019-20 state assessments data .  Stakeholders have until Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, to send their comments on the draft addendum document to this email address:   

Once the template is final, states will have until Feb. 1, 2021, to submit any requested changes to their ESSA state plans for identification of schools for ESSA support and improvement in the fall of 2021.

The draft state plan addendum document is intended to provide states with a common streamlined template for requesting technical changes to their ESSA accountability plans for the 2020-21 school year due to the absence of assessment data for the 2019-20 school year.  CDE will engage its primary accountability stakeholder groups, the Committee of Practitioners and the Accountability Work Group, as well as district federal program directors, BOCES, and district leaders as it develops its plans to submit the addendum by Feb. 1, 2021, for changes needed  for the 2020-21 school year using this streamlined approach.  States that wish to amend their ESSA state plans beyond what is included in the template must follow the regular amendment requirements provided by the USDE in past years.   CDE will make its recommended technical changes to Colorado’s ESSA plan in December.  

The draft state plan addendum document does not include the option to request a waiver for assessment requirements under ESSA for the 2020-21 school year.   In the frequently asked questions section on this issue, the USDE indicates that “based on information currently available, the Department expects that an SEA will meet all ESEA assessment, accountability, school identification, and reporting requirements in the 2020-2021 school year.”