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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 governing school and district accountability and has undergone several reauthorizations, the latest of which is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.

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

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 and Targeted Support and Improvement.

 

Indicators and Student Groups

ESSA Accountability Indicators

  • English Language Arts (ELA) Achievement and Growth
  • Math Achievement and Growth
  • Other Indicator of School Quality or Student Success (SQSS)
  • English Language Proficiency Growth (ELP, English Learners only)
  • Graduation Rate (High Schools)

Disaggregated Groups

  • English Learners
  • Economically Disadvantaged Students
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Students from Major Racial/Ethnic Groups

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:
    • Colorado currently has 720 Title I schools, 5% of which is 36.  Therefore, 36 schools had to be identified as CS-Lowest Performing 5%.
    • Colorado is using the total percentage points earned by each school on the multi-year SPF, which includes data for all necessary ESSA indicators, to identify schools.
    • Based on the distribution of the percentage of points earned on multi-year SPFs in 2017-2018, the cut-score for the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools is 38.7%.
    • Therefore, Title I schools with an SPF total percentage of points below 38.7% were identified as CS-Lowest Performing 5%. 
  • Total Number Identified for 2017-18:  35 traditional schools and 1 AEC
  • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies.
  • Exit Criteria:  Schools will exit CS status if they earn above 38.7% of their overall SPF points all 3 years and they are not 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 a best of 4-, 5-, 6-, or 7-year rate that was below 67% for 3 consecutive years were identified for CS-Low Graduation/Completion Rate.  Graduation rate was used as the measure for high schools; completion rate was used for AECs.
    • Graduation and completion rates from 2014, 2015, and 2016 were used for 2017-2018 identification.
  • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  44 high schools, including 9 traditional high schools and 35 AECs.
  • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies.
  • Exit Criteria:  Identified schools will exit when they earn a graduation or completion rate of 67% or higher.

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.  A description of the A-TS identification process can found on our examples page.
  • 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.
  • Total Number Identified in 2017-18:  None.  Colorado will identify schools in this category for the first time in 2020-2021.
  • Length of Identification:  Schools will remain CS for at least 3 consecutive years to allow time to implement improvement strategies.
  • 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:
    • The multi-year SPF ratings on the sub-indicators for English language arts achievement and growth, math achievement and growth, science achievement, and graduation or completion rate for high schools and AECs, respectively, were used for identifying schools (see Table 2 on examples page).
    • Consistently underperforming was 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 were identified if they had at least 3 indicators for a given student group(s) and earned a DNM on all indicators for that student group(s) (see examples provided below). 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. 
    • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  69 schools
    • Length of Identification:  Established by LEA
    • Exit Criteria:  Established by LEA

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 (SPF sub-indicators), student groups, and years of data from the TS analyses were used for the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement school (A-TS) analyses.
    • Schools that had 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, were identified as A-TS.
  • Total Number Identified in 2017-2018:  81 schools
  • Length of Identification:  At least 3 years
  • Exit Criteria:  Schools will exit A-TS status if they earn above DNM on any sub-indicator for the student group that led to the schools’ identification. 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.


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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