We applaud Denver Public Schools and appreciate your decision to share more accurate performance data with families. We wholeheartedly support your commitment to create a stronger, more aligned School Performance Framework (SPF) and see your recent changes as steps in the right direction.
As we expressed in a Dec. 20, 2017 letter, our concern was the inclusion of an early learning (K-3) literacy test that we believe dramatically impacted the school ratings for elementary schools. Since that time, Colorado Succeeds has participated in several meetings and focus groups with the district where many stakeholders provided feedback and suggestions for ways to adjust the high scores for early literacy so that they more closely reflect student performance as compared to grade level targets.
DPS leadership has agreed that the Early Literacy Indicator needs adjustments for future inclusion in the SPF. For the 2017-18 school year, DPS has notified parents of the difference between the performance of students on the early literacy assessment (iStation) and the performance of students on the college-and-career aligned CMAS. This clarification helps to address our concerns that parents and families are informed about the actual performance of their students toward college-and-career readiness standards.
DPS leadership has also agreed to make the following changes for SY 2018-19: reduce the weight of the Early Literacy indicator in the SPF; and increase the percentage of students expected to be at grade level for the early literacy indicator, acknowledging the difference in rigor between the iStation and CMAS. These changes will help create a more balanced view of performance for parents moving forward.
We appreciate the commitment to an open and transparent school performance measurement system. We strongly believe DPS and the SPF can continue to be a leading example for providing families with the critical information they need to understand the performance of schools across the district. We remain a committed partner in supporting this work and appreciate the district’s leadership in addressing these concerns.
The Colorado Succeeds Board of Directors