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AAE’s Colorado Partner Signs on to School Grading Coalition
posted by: Alix | December 12, 2011, 08:14 PM   

AAE's Colorado state partner, the Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE), announced today that the organization is signing on with other like-minded groups in promoting a new website called Colorado School Grades, a new online tool that will help parents, students, educators, and community members better understand how their local schools are performing.

A novel concept that will empower parents, students, and teachers to make informed decisions regarding attendance and employment, the website will give every school an easy-to-understand letter-grade ranking. The Colorado School Grades coalition has created a simple and clear way of representing how schools truly are performing, whether that information happens to good or bad. The website — in English and Spanish — went live today to coincide with the start of choice enrollment for many districts in Colorado.

The coalition has been working with the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Public Affairs to outline and establish the grade breakdown to give an accurate depiction of school performance. Most schools start with a C grade, allowing top performers to be highlighted. The schools are then graded on a curve, allowing only schools with the top 10 percent of scores — based on the state's calculation — to receive an A grade.

The state calculations of school rankings take academic growth into high consideration, letting it account for 75 percent of the final score in elementary and middle schools, and 50 percent in high school grades.

"Every parent can relate to grades A through F," stated Colorado Succeeds President Tim Taylor, a member of the Colorado School Grades coalition. "We're not changing inputs, just translating in a way that is clear."

The website provides links to the original state school grades and allows stakeholders to make informed choices about schools via these rankings. In addition to grading schools and allowing for side-by-side comparisons, the website provides resources for contacting teachers, principals, superintendents, board members and legislators to push for education reform.

"PACE is thrilled to be a part of endorsing and promoting Colorado School Grades. In creating a central network of rankings, Coloradoans will not only have access to detailed information, but will be encouraged to take action," said PACE Membership Director Tim Farmer. "This website will create a culture of transparency and collaboration like never before seen in Colorado."

Colorado School Grades' ultimate goal is to improve education in Colorado by giving parents and the community the best way possible to understand how their local schools are performing and to help them find ways to get involved and work toward improving their schools.

The concept of accurate, easy to use rankings and centrally located information for all education stakeholders is a welcome addition to Colorado, and hopefully in many other states in years to come. The first step in improving education is making sure that everyone is aware of the challenges we face. Colorado School Grades makes this possible.

What do you think about Colorado School Grades? Would you favor a similar website in your state?

Comment below.

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