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Colorado ESSA Update

The Colorado Department of Education released the following information about our ESSA plan. It is so important for everyone to stay informed on ESSA and ensure proper stakeholder voices are heard and included in our plan.

News Release 

Board agrees to resubmit ESSA plan with changes to meet federal requirements

Parental excusals won’t impact schools and districts in state accountability system

DENVER – The Colorado State Board of Education in its two-day October board meeting agreed to follow differing state assessment reporting rules outlined in state and federal policy with a solution that will still allow federal funds for school improvement to be directed to schools that need it the most.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify schools for improvement and distributes about $10.5 million a year to Colorado for support.  However, the U.S. Department of Education flagged the state’s plan for implementing ESSA because it didn’t follow the new federal rules. Current state policy holds districts and schools harmless for parental excusals from statewide assessments. But the federal law requires states to count any non-participants on statewide assessments as being non-proficient when they exceed 5 percent of total test-takers.

State law does not allow districts to impose negative consequences on families excusing their children from taking tests.  The law also does not allow districts to either discourage students from taking tests or encourage parents to opt their children out of the tests. Concerns have been raised that if non-participating students were counted as non-proficient, the state would misidentify the schools most in need of support.

The state board approved re-submitting the ESSA state plan to meet the federal requirements for achievement calculations, but to differentiate schools identified. CDE can give preference to schools for support based on the performance of students that participated in the assessments.