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ESSA Methods and Criteria for Identification of Schools for Support and Improvement

Schools Identified for Support and Improvement under ESSA

Overview

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 is the primary federal education legislation and has undergone several reauthorizations, the latest of which is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. Colorado’s state plan under ESSA was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2018.

Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, ESSA’s precursor, accountability was based on measures of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for both schools and districts. During the time between NCLB and ESSA, Colorado operated under an ESEA flexibility waiver. The U.S. Department of Education approved Colorado’s waiver to replace AYP with the School Performance Frameworks (SPFs) as the basis for identifying the lowest performing Title I schools and high schools with low graduation rates as Title I Priority, and Title I schools with low disaggregated group performance as Title I Focus. Those designations no longer apply in Colorado.

ESSA now requires states to develop a statewide accountability system, with long-term and interim progress goals, for all students and specific disaggregated groups, based on five indicators: academic achievement and growth in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, English language proficiency for English learners, graduation rates, and school quality or student success. ESSA also requires that states have a method for identifying schools for Comprehensive (CS) and Targeted (TS) Support and Improvement. Colorado’s accountability system already included these indicators. Therefore Colorado’s identification of schools for support and improvement under ESSA relies upon the data from the multi-year School Performance Frameworks (SPFs) where applicable and feasible.

The schools identified as CS or TS under ESSA are eligible for supports through the EASI application. The list of CS/TS schools (linked below) differs from the list in the EASI application because that list also includes schools identified for support and improvement using the SPF results and those schools identified as TS or ATS in 2017-2018 (see the 2017-2018 CS/TS school list, linked below).

Please use the links below to access a list of schools identified for CS and TS:


Colorado's Methodology for Identifying Schools as CS and TS

Colorado will used the methodology and criteria in its ESSA Plan that was approved by the USDE in May, 2018, to identify schools for support and improvement under ESSA. Specific details and examples of identification can be viewed in the ESSA Methods and Criteria Document.

ESSA Indicators

Under ESSA, identification of schools for support and improvement is based on the following five indicators:

  • Academic Achievement: based on CMAS and CoAlt mean scale scores for math and English language arts (and Spanish language arts for eligible 3rd and 4th graders), and math and evidence-based reading and writing PSAT/SAT performance. Non-participants (including parent excusals) in excess of 5% are counted as non-proficient, and assigned the lowest possible scale score.
    • Schools that only serve kindergarten through second grade: based on percent of student with a reading deficiency (SRD)
  • Academic Growth: based on median growth percentiles for CMAS English language arts and math, and PSAT/SAT math and evidence-based reading and writing.
    • Schools that only serve kindergarten through second grade: based on change in SRD and English language proficiency growth
  • Graduation Rates: based on the 4-year and 7-year adjusted cohort rates.
  • Progress in achieving English language proficiency: based on WIDA ACCESS for ELLs median growth percentiles and the percent of students on-track to fluency within the state-determined timeline.
  • Indicators of school quality or student success (SQSS): based on CMAS/CoAlt science mean scale scores, and reduction in chronic absenteeism when available (elementary and middle schools) and dropout rates (high schools).

Disaggregated Groups

  • English Learners
  • Economically Disadvantaged Students
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Students from Major Racial/Ethnic Groups
    • When the student group is too small for disaggregation (N<16 for achievement and N<20 for growth), non-white students are combined into an aggregated non-white group.

 

Methods and Criteria for Identification

Federal statute requires states that accept ESSA funds to identify schools for Comprehensive or Targeted Support and Improvement as follows: 

Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CS): ​

  • Lowest performing 5% of Title I schools.
  • High Schools with low graduation rates.
  • Chronically Low Performing Student Group(s) (former A-TS that did not meet exit criteria).

Targeted and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (TS and A-TS):

  • TS:  Any schools with at least one consistently underperforming disaggregated group.
  • A-TS:  Any schools with at least one disaggregated group that, on its own, meets the criteria for the CS-Lowest Performing 5%.


Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CS)

CS – Lowest Performing 5%

  • ESSA Definition: Title I schools performing in the lowest 5% of all Title I schools.
  • Colorado’s Method:
    • Each year, the number of Title I schools being served that year will be used to determine how many schools are to be identified as performing in the lowest 5%. In recent years, over 700 Colorado schools have been served per year. For example, in 2017-2018, Colorado had 727 Title I schools; therefore, 36 schools (5% of 727) were identified as CS-Lowest Performing 5%. Approximately 5% of Title I schools are AECs, so Colorado will identify one AEC (out of the approximately 36 schools) for this category.
    • Colorado calculates a summative index score (total percentage points earned) based on points assigned for each of the ESSA indicators using the same weights and methodology as the SPFs, based on 3 years of aggregated data (when available). The total percentage points earned by each school will be used to identify schools as CS.
    • The distribution of the total percentage of points earned will be used to identify the cut-score for the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools each year. Title I schools with a total percentage of points below the cut-score will be identified as CS-Lowest Performing 5%.
      • Title I schools that only enroll students in kindergarten through second grade will be identified as CS-lowest 5% if the total percentage points earned on the academic achievement and growth indicators appropriate for K-2 schools (see indicators above) falls below the establish cut-score for the year of identification.
      • Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) will first be evaluated according to the same measure and indicators as all other schools. If the system does not adequately differentiate among AECs to identify the lowest-performing 5% of these schools, attendance and truancy data will be used to further differentiate AECs in order to identify schools for improvement.
    • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS-lowest 5% for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies. Schools that are not re-identified during those 3 years will continue to be eligible for supports and services and will be categorized as “CS-Lowest 5% - Hold” on the list of identified schools.
    • Total Number Identified in 2017-18:  35 traditional schools and 1 AEC.
    • Total Number Identified in 2018-19
      • Title I K-12: 35 schools
      • Title I AECs: 1 school
      • Title I K-2 Schools: 1 school
      • CS-Lowest 5% - Hold: 13 schools
  • Exit Criteria:  Schools will exit CS status if they no longer meet the identification criteria that resulted in their identification for 3 consecutive years and they are not re-identified for CS-Lowest Performing 5% for 3 years following identification (i.e., do not meet the identification criteria in any of those 3 years when they are implementing improvement strategies).

 

CS – Low Graduation/Completion Rate

  • ESSA Definition: Any high school that fails to graduate one-third or more of its students.  Schools do not need to be served with Title I funds to be identified.
  • Colorado’s Method:
    • High schools and Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) with 4-year and 7-year rates that are below 67% for 3 consecutive years will be identified for CS-Low Graduation Rate.
    • Graduation rates from 2015, 2016, and 2017 have been used for 2018-2019 identification.
    • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies. Schools that are not re-identified during those 3 years will continue to be eligible for supports and services and will be categorized as “CS-Lowest 5% - Hold” on the list of identified schools.
    • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  44 high schools, including 9 traditional high schools and 35 AECs.
    • Total Number Identified in 2018-2019:  
      • Traditional High Schools: 10
      • AECs: 50
      • CS-Low Grad Rate – Hold: 5
    • Exit Criteria:  Identified schools will exit when they earn a graduation rate of 67% on either the 4- or 7- year graduation rate and are not re-identified for 3 consecutive years.

 

CS – Chronically Low Performing Student Group(s) (former A-TS that did not meet exit criteria)

  • ESSA Definition: Title I Schools previously identified for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement that did not meet the state’s exit criteria within 3 years. 
  • Colorado’s method:
    • Title I schools formerly identified for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement that have continued to be low performing for the same disaggregated group(s) 3 consecutive years after identification will be moved to this category in their 4th year of identification.
  • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies.
  • Total Number Identified in 2018-2019:  None. 
    • Colorado will identify schools in this category for the first time in 2020-2021.
  • Exit Criteria:  Identified schools will exit this status when they earn approaching, meets, or exceeds expectations for 3 consecutive years on the sub-indicators for the student group(s) that led to their transition to this category

Click here for examples and illustrations of CS identification and exit criteria


Targeted Support and Improvement (TS)

Targeted

  • ESSA Definition: Any schools with at least one consistently underperforming disaggregated group.
  • Colorado’s Method:
    • Sub-indicators for English language arts achievement and growth, math achievement and growth, science achievement, graduation rate (for high schools), ELP growth and percent on-track to attain fluency (for English learners), and dropout rate (for high schools) will be used for identifying schools (see Table 2 on examples page).
    • Consistently underperforming is defined as earning a does not meet expectations (DNM) on at least 3 sub-indicators (see Table 2 on examples page), for which the school had enough data (see Table 2 for minimum number required) to earn a rating for any of the following disaggregated groups at each grade span (elementary, middle, or high):
      • English learners
      • Students with disabilities
      • Economically disadvantaged students
      • Students from Major Racial/Ethnic Groups 
    • Schools with 3 or more indicators for any student group at any grade span (i.e., elementary, middle, high) were included in the analyses.
    • Schools are identified if they have at least 3 indicators for a given student group(s) and earned a DNM on all indicators for that student group(s). Any school with a rating above DNM (i.e., approaching, meets, exceeds) on at least one sub-indicator for a given student group would not be identified based on the performance of that student group. 
    • Length of Identification:  Established by LEA
    • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  69 schools
    • Total Number Identified in 2018-2019:  
      • Schools that enroll K-12 students: 76 school
      • Schools that only enroll K-2 students: 4 schools
    • Exit Criteria:  Established by LEA
    • During the 2018-2019 school year, Colorado will be working with stakeholders to develop and implement a process for districts to notify CDE of the exit criteria and timeline for TS schools. During this time, the schools identified as TS in 2017-2018 will be eligible for supports.

 

Additional Targeted (A-TS)

  • ESSA Definition: Any schools with at least one disaggregated group that, on its own, meets the criteria for the CS-Lowest Performing 5%.
  • Colorado’s Method:
    • The same data (sub-indicators), student groups, and years of data from the TS analyses are used for the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement school (A-TS) analyses.
    • Schools that have enough students in a disaggregated group to earn a rating on all sub-indicators, for all grade-spans served by that school (elementary, middle, high), and earned DNM on all sub-indicators at all grade spans, are identified as A-TS. 
  • Identification:  Annually
  • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  81 schools
  • Total Number Identified in 2018-2019: 72 schools (36 of which were identified for the same group in 2017-2018)
  • Transition to CS: A-TS schools that receive Title I funds and continue to earn DNM on all indicators, for the same student group(s) that resulted in the school’s identification as A-TS, for 3 consecutive years will be transitioned to CS-Chronically Low Performing Student Group(s).

Click here for examples and illustrations of TS identification


ESSA Application for School Improvement (EASI)

  • Schools identified for support and improvement under ESSA are eligible for supports, services, and grant opportunities. For more information on that process, please visit the ESSA Application for School Improvement page.
  • For more information regarding ESSA planning requirements for comprehensive, targeted and additional targeted support and improvement schools, visit the ESSA Planning Requirements page.

Contact Information

For additional information about the methodology, criteria, or data used to identify schools for support and improvement under ESSA, please contact:

Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, Ph.D.
303-866-6205
Send an email to Nazanin

Tina Negley
303-866-5243
Send an email to Tina

For additional information about the supports available for identified schools, please contact:

Laura Meushaw
303-866-6618
Send an email to Laura

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