Feb. 24, 2017
Colorado State Board of Education supports bill to change ninth-grade statewide assessment
HB17-1181 would align test to the 10th-grade assessment
DENVER – The Colorado State Board of Education voted Friday to support House Bill 1181 that would change the mandated statewide English language arts and math assessments taken by Colorado’s ninth-grade students beginning in 2018 to an assessment that is aligned with the state’s other high school assessments.
Specifically, the legislation would change statutory language that requires students take a state assessment in math and English language arts in the ninth grade. Instead, beginning in 2018, districts would administer a ninth-grade assessment aligned with Colorado’s 10th-grade assessment and the college entrance exam administered in the 11th grade.
Currently, 10th-grade students take the PSAT 10. And beginning this spring Colorado 11th-graders will take the SAT as the state’s college entrance exam. If passed, House Bill 1181 would require the ninth-grade assessment to be aligned to those assessments.
“For months the board has been discussing a way to simplify the ninth-grade test and provide a clear connection to the college readiness process,” said Board Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder. “We support this legislation because it requires the test to be aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards and our college and career readiness goals for students.”
Spring 2016 was the first time Colorado 10th-graders took the PSAT 10, which replaced the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessments in English language arts and math for that grade. The participation rate improved dramatically to 88 percent of 10th-graders who took the tests in 2016 compared to 62 percent of 10th-graders who took the CMAS tests in 2015.
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes believes the legislation, if approved, might lead to more participation on statewide tests.
“Students and parents are understandably drawn to assessments that are aligned and support college entrance,” Anthes said. “We are building an assessment system designed to give parents the insight to determine whether their students are on track to be ready for college and careers and this legislation helps that process.”
If the bill passes and is signed into law, students would take the new assessment in spring 2018 for the first time. House Bill 1181 would not change the assessment schedule for this spring. Colorado ninth-graders will still take the CMAS English language arts and math tests as planned.