The Accountability of Public Money
How CDE Rates, Helps Schools
By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Department of Education
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) assesses how well our students and schools are performing in two ways. First, students are measured through achievement exams called the Colorado Measurement of Academic Achievement (CMAS) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Second, schools and Districts are evaluated through a different measure, Performance Frameworks.
Colorado schools and districts receive performance ratings to let them and their communities know how well they are doing. These Frameworks are called the District Performance Frameworks (DPFs) and School Performance Frameworks (SPFs). The overall ratings are based on achievement and growth on state assessments, along with postsecondary measures such as graduation rates, drop-out rates, college entrance exams, and college matriculation rates. The ratings help the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) make decisions about how to help struggling schools. At our September board meeting, the department introduced the preliminary Performance Frameworks ratings and how they may be adjusted this year to align with legislation
passed in the 2019 session.
To simplify designations, schools are rated using the following terminology and colors, Performance (green), Improvement (yellow), Priority Improvement (orange), and Turnaround (red). At a glance, parents and community members can see how their schools are performing. More importantly, it informs the education department of the schools in the orange and red zones where additional support may be directed. In the past, this was known as “Turnaround” status or on the “accountability clock.”
Because some schools have been on the “accountability clock” over five years, the terminology has been changed to “Performance Watch.” This allows for schools to exit the clock only following two consecutive years in a higher category.
From this year’s achievement results, we know that only 40% of our third graders are reading at or above grade level. Then why in our recently released preliminary performance ratings are 84% of our schools rated as “Performance” or “Improvement” (green or yellow) and 7% in the “Priority Improvement” or “Turnaround category” (orange or red)?
Shifting some of our “growth” measures within part of the Frameworks may provide us with a better picture of improving accountability. That will be the decision the state board will be making at an upcoming board meeting.
I’ll leave you with an example I found of how the word accountability can be used in a sentence. “There must be clear accountability of the expenditure of public money.”
Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District which includes Leadville and Lake County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Responders Host Community Night
There will be a Community Night Out held at Ice Palace Park in Leadville tomorrow. According to the information posted to Leadville Today, Leadville and Lake County are hosting All First Responders will be hosting a Community Night Out this Saturday. This event is 100% free! There will be a 24 team corn-hole tournament, email Officer Byers to reserve your team today. They will be giving out prizes all night long. Free hamburgers and hotdogs will be available. All First Responder vehicles will be on display for the kids! This event is from 4 – 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21. Come and get to know the people in your neighborhood and have some #finalweekendofsummer fun!