The Colorado Education Initiative K-12 Assessment

The Colorado Education Initiative
Primary Contact Name: 
Samantha Olson
Funding Framework: 
Start Date: 
March 2016
Grant Term: 
18 months
Funding Priority: 
Formative Assessment, Educator Capacity, Aligned Systems/Accountability

Personalized Pathways to Performance-Based Accountability: A Multi-District Capacity-Building Pilot

Participating Schools:

  • Locations: Across Colorado, including but not limited to these cities:
    • Bayfield
    • Boulder
    • Buena Vista 
    • Colorado Springs
    • Cortez
    • Crestone
    • Dolores
    • Durango
    • Golden
    • Grand Junction
    • Ignacio
    • Julesburg
    • Kit Carson
    • Le Veta
    • Loveland
    • Mancos
    • Merino
    • Monte Vista 
    • Pagosa Springs
    • Parachute
    • San Luis
    • Silverton
    • South Routt 
    • Walsenburg
    • Woodland Park  
  • Settings: Urban, Rural, Suburban
  • School Types: District, Charter
  • Targeted Grades: K-8
  • Number of Participating Students: More than 1,000
  • Number of Participating Teachers: 51-200
  • Curriculum Areas: Global Languages, Literacy, Math

The Team: 

  • The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI)
  • Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
  • Participating Schools and Districts (see list below) 
  • Center for Assessment, Design, Research, and Evaluation (CADRE) at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Slope Research 

The Project: As leading statewide organizations committed to innovation, equity, and continuous learning, The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) and Colorado Department of Education (CDE) are streamlining efforts to support districts around assessment, instruction, and personalized learning in ways that have lasting systems impact. This project builds on existing state and district capacities to meet emerging priorities and foster systems of assessment for learning that empower educators, foster student agency, and address the range of knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for college & career readiness.

Participating districts are engaging in one or both of these pathways:

  • Deepening systems capacity to create, administer, and locally score common, standards-aligned performance assessments
  • Integrating student learning objectives (SLOs) and learning progressions to empower student ownership and agency

The Hypothesis: If teachers use rigorous performance tasks aligned to standards-based instruction, and students meaningfully engage in data and self-review, then:

  • We will improve student achievement, student agency, and educator effectiveness.
  • We will build capacity of teachers to be able to evaluate student work at high levels of consistency within and across grade levels.

The Learning: The state has the potential to work with a group of early adopter districts to identify or produce a shared set of performance-based assessments aligned to both academic and non-academic competencies that could potentially be used in place of current state assessments at certain grade levels. The team hopes to learn how instituting learning progressions increases both teacher and student agency, as they anticipate that learning progressions will enable teachers to differentiate and personalize instruction based on developmental milestones. In turn, the project team is trying to prove that assessing student understanding in this manner will feel like a more authentic way of measuring educator effectiveness and will yield stronger student outcomes and ownership over learning.

List of Participating Schools and Districts:

  • Boulder Valley School District
  • Centennial School District R-1
  • Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Compass Montessori School
  • Crestone Charter School
  • Garfield County School District No. 16
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Mesa County School Valley School District 51
  • San Juan Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES)
    • Archuleta School District 50 JT
    • Bayfield School District 10 JT
    • Dolores School District RE-4A
    • Dolores County School District RE-2(J)
    • Durango School District 9-R
    • Ignacio School District 11 JT
    • Mancos School District RE-6
    • Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1
    • Silverton School District 1
  • Student Centered Accountability Project (SCAP) Districts
    • Buena Vista School District
    • Huerfano School District RE-1
    • Julesburg School District RE-1
    • Kit Carson School District R-1
    • La Veta School District
    • Mancos School District RE-6
    • Merino School District RE-4J
    • Monte Vista School District C-8
    • South Routt School District RE-3
  • Thompson School District
  • Woodland Park School District Re-2