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News Release - Board rejects cut scores for the 12th grade CMAS science and social studies tests

March 12, 2015

Board rejects cut scores for the 12th grade CMAS science and social studies tests

Board also delays action on testing waivers

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on March 11 & 12. Highlights from the meeting include:


The board voted 4-3 to reject the proposed cut scores needed to set proficiency levels on the 12th grade Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) science and social studies tests given last fall. Board member Steve Durham later asked board chairwoman Marcia Neil to reconsider the action to reject the proposed cut scores at their April meeting.

The board also held a study session on CMAS assessment data collection. The board and the department have received questions from the public regarding what data is collected through the assessments. During the session, department staff and executives from Pearson, the state’s testing vendor, answered questions from the board and from members of the audience.

State Test Waiver Requests

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the state board of education voted 4-3 to pass a motion directing the commissioner of education to grant waivers to local school boards and districts to the performance-based component of the CMAS assessment, if requested by the district. In light of the board’s action, the commissioner requested a formal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office which was shared at the board’s February meeting.

To date, CDE has received 27 waiver requests from various districts.

The board voted to allow continued submissions of waivers by districts and to table any decision on those waivers until the next regular meeting of the board.  

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver Request

Colorado’s current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver is set to expire at the end of the 2014-15 school year. The deadline for submitting a request to renew the waiver is March 31, 2015. Department staff presented its recommendation for CDE to apply for renewal of the waiver. The board voted to approve Colorado’s ESEA flexibility waiver renewal request as submitted by staff.

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey Information Session

The board engaged in an information session on The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. The survey measures youth health behaviors in Colorado and is administered every other year in randomly selected districts and schools and classrooms in Colorado, after those classrooms consent to this optional involvement. The board moved to table action on the survey until its April meeting.

Outstanding Students and Educators

The board recognized Julia Falkner from Monarch High School in Louisville, Colo. who was awarded the 2014 National Student Poets Program Winner, the country’s highest honor for young poets (grades nine – 11) presenting original work. Falkner was selected from the west region as one of the final five winners. Each National Student Poet receives an academic award of $5,000 and an acknowledgement of their accomplishment at the White House.

Cory Notestine, a school counselor at Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colo., was also recognized as the 2015 School Counselor of the Year. The award, presented by the American School Counselor Association, honors the professionals who devote their careers to serving as advocates for the nation’s students and addressing their academic and, social/emotional development and career and college readiness. Cory’s achievement was also acknowledged in a ceremony at the White House by the First Lady.

Turnaround Support

At the December 2014 board meeting, department staff suggested that districts with an accreditation rating of Turnaround or Priority Improvement or districts with multiple schools with Turnaround or Priority Improvement plan types present to the state board about low performance and progression along the accountability clock.

At the March meeting, Ignacio School District shared visions and plans for improvement efforts at their district. The board also heard from Douglas County School District.

Charter School Appeals

In the charter school appeal regarding Mt. Lamborn School of Arts and Science vs. Delta County School District No. 50, the board voted to affirm the decision of the local board of education and thereby upheld the decision of Delta County School District 50 to deny the charter school appeal.

In Launch High School vs. Colorado Springs School District 11, the board voted to remand the matter to Colorado Springs School District 11 for reconsideration.


The board adopted a resolution concerning parental rights.

Innovation Application

The board moved to approve Montrose County RE-1’s request to approve its Innovation Application on behalf of Centennial Middle School.

Other Action

Notice of Rulemaking Hearing:

    • The board approved the notice of rulemaking hearing for the rules for Food and Nutrition Services.
    • The board also approved the notice of rulemaking hearing concerning rules for Accounting and Reporting.

Rulemaking Hearings:

    • The board conducted a rulemaking hearing on the rules for the Administration of the Exceptional Children's Educational Act. Those rules will be on the April agenda for a vote.
    • The board approved the rules for Colorado Minimum Standards Governing School Transportation Vehicles.