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Measures of Student Learning Guidance for Teachers

The purpose of this document is to highlight possible approaches for districts and BOCES to consider when constructing their approach to select measures of student learning for use in educator evaluations. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) will be collecting on-going feedback to improve this guidance.  Please use this Provide Feedback link to submit feedback to CDE. This guidance will be revised annually with refined versions released each summer in order to reflect new learning and emerging best practices.

In an effort to improve the quality of education provided to all students in the state, Colorado has: implemented the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) that represent what students should know and be able to do at each level of their schooling; implemented school and district accountability strategies that are tied to unified improvement planning; and adopted Educator Quality Standards that describe the actions of effective educators in Colorado. Each of these efforts has the shared purpose of improving student learning and raising student achievement levels. It is important to recognize the interdependence of each of these strategies so that they can be implemented as parts of a cohesive and aligned system. It is also important to ensure that these strategies address how all educators in the system, individually and collectively, can contribute to the desired outcomes for Colorado students.

The focus of this guidance is on the student academic growth requirements outlined in Senate Bill 10-191, the Great Teachers and Leaders Act.  Senate Bill 10-191 requires that fifty percent of an educator’s evaluation in Colorado be based on educator impact on student learning determined by using multiple measures in relationship to the Colorado Academic Standards.  In Colorado, the term “academic growth” is closely associated with results from the Colorado Growth Model (CGM) as reported in the School and District Performance Frameworks. The phrase “measures of student learning” or “MSL” is employed throughout this document to ensure that districts understand that evaluating student learning for educator evaluations is not confined to results from the CGM, but is inclusive of results from multiple types of measures that districts may use in educator evaluation and to support instructional goals. 

Download the complete Teacher Guidance document 

Districts are encouraged to use local measures that are included in, and aligned with, district and school Unified Improvement Plan goals and the Colorado Academic Standards.  For subjects that are assessed in consecutive years, growth results may be available depending on the assessment.  Click here to read more about the impact of HB15-1323 on Educator Evaluations.

Table 1 summarizes each of the four requirements and provides examples.  It is important to note that the third and fourth requirements may be applied either individually or collectively as illustrated below:

Table 1:  Requirements and Examples

Measures of Student Learning - Landing Page Table 1

The Department recommends the judicious use of Median Growth Percentiles for a given grade level, school or specific content area.  Some cautions to consider are discussed in recommendations from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment [NCIEA] and the Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation [CADRE] Executive Summary and Technical Report. CGM data can be obtained by using SchoolView to access the school and district growth summary reports, the Colorado Growth Model Visualization Tool, Data Center, and the Data Lab. WIDA ACCESS summary results and growth results can be found on CDE’s website. 

* Assessment results (whether local or state) may be used in the current year’s evaluations as long as results are available two weeks prior to the end of the school year. If results are not available within that timeframe they can be used in subsequent school years.

The transition in state assessments and 2015 legislation has created an opportunity for districts to emphasize results from a variety of local measures in educator evaluations. See Textbox 1 for a description of the legislation and possible implications.

Textbox 1:

Measures of Student Learning - Landing Page Textbox 1

Measuring Student Learning, a Step by Step Process

The sections in this document consist of recommended steps for identifying and determining the measures of student learning that may be included in a district’s educator
evaluation system.  Taken together, these steps detail a sample process that may be used by districts to determine measures of student learning in order to generate a performance
rating for Teacher Quality Standard VI

The steps are as follows:

Step 1:  Begin with the Colorado Academic Standards to identify what students are expected to know and be able to do.  

Step 2:  Identify available assessments being used in your district to evaluate student learning throughout the year.

Step 3:  Group available assessments according to teacher types.

Step 4: Select measures and assign weights to measures for use in educator evaluations.

Step 5:  Determine success criteria for results from included measures of student learning.

Step 6:  Combine weighted ratings from individual measures into an overall measure of student learning (MSL) rating.

As districts follow the steps outlined in this guidance, they will find that, for many subjects and grades, districts will need to work with their teachers to establish student learning objectives (SLOs).  Student learning objectives are a participatory method of setting measurable goals or objectives for a specific assignment or class in a manner aligned with the subject matter taught and in a manner that allows for the evaluation of the baseline performance of students and the measureable gain in student performance during the course of instruction (1 CCR 301-87-1.23).