State Board votes on accountability changes for elementary and middle schools

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: October 18, 2019

Last week the State Board of Education approved changes to an accountability framework that would raise the standard for schools and districts to receive a “performance” rating. 

Ratings for elementary and middle school students are based on two measures, student growth and achievement. Currently, only 46 percent of third through eighth graders met or exceeded expectations in literacy, and only 35 percent of students did so in math. Yet 72 percent of Colorado elementary and middle schools received the state’s highest rating of “performance.”

The changes to the framework, scheduled to take effect in 2021, mean that both students and schools will be held to high standards and will more accurately reflect “performance” and “improvement” ratings. The changes also mean that an additional metric will be considered when calculating school and district performance: “On-Track Growth.” The statutorily required metric measures whether students are making enough progress to move up a level within two years, such that a student who partially meets expectations in third grade would be approaching expectations in fifth grade and meeting them by the seventh grade. 


The State Board of Education and the department began this process in the fall of last year and convened stakeholders as a result of the passage of HB18-1355. The Children’s Campaign provided public comment and submitted written testimony along with several other partners including Transform Education Now, A+ Plus Colorado, Democrats for Education Reform and the African Leadership Group.  


The changes will go into effect in the fall of 2021 and the Department of Education expects to engage in a similar process to consider changes for high school frameworks. To learn more about the accountability frameworks visit the Colorado Department of Education. 

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The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit