My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


This Just Came To My Attention

Apparently one of the last acts of the State Legislative session was the passage of HB04-1403.

This bill, with the unwieldy title "Longitudinal Measurement of Student Academic Growth," annually calculates the amount of each student's and each school's academic growth. In other words, as I posted about at great length earlier, the state's assessment of a school's performance will now be based on the progress of each student and student group as it ages, rather than different sets of kids in the same grade level in different years.

In other words, right now a school's "grade" is based on the following model: in 2002 the third grade at Purgatory Elementary had 58% of the students proficient or advanced; in 2003 the third grade at Purgatory Elem had 54% of the students proficient or advanced; therefore, Purgatory Elem must have been doing a bad job because the number of third graders Pro or APro declined.

See a problem with this model? Of course--you're comparing two different sets of kids. The third graders in 2002 were, of course, in fourth grade in 2003, so the comparison is not one that accurately reflects reality.

Under HB04-1443, Purgatory Elem will now be graded based on the performance of the fourth graders in 2003, the fifth graders in 2004, and so on. In other words, we would now base our assessment of a school's success on its ability to effect kids achievement over time. This is much better scientific design, and would be a much more useful tool in assessing the schools.

I will be writing an e-mail to the Governor encouraging him to sign this bill into law. I would hope that others would see this as a sensible reform of the Colorado Schools' Assessment Program, and would join me.

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