Colorado AECs have long been on the leading edge of accountability innovation, and project partners The New America School and Momentum Strategy and Research (MSR) have been supporting and encouraging this work all along. In 2015, State legislation created an AEC Accountability Workgroup to make accountability system recommendations, and the results were published in the 2015 Colorado AEC Accountability Workgroup.
Specific recommendations included increasing the qualitative evaluation of AECs and recognizing unique measures important to individual AECs– both underscoring the importance of school-specific accountability. Click here to access that report.
In 2016, Momentum, The New America School, and partner schools began pilot efforts to externally validate unique measures used at AECs across Colorado.
That work continued and expanded in 2017, including a white paper published in November of 2017 calling for the State to allow for and authorize the use of Accountability Pilots Click here to view the white paper. Accountability legislation was first introduced in 2018, and finally passed in 2019, leading to the CDE Local Accountability Systems Grant Program.
The Measuring Opportunity Pilot Program will demonstrate how customized accountability plans strengthen Colorado Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) by aligning and prioritizing measures to match programming and services most important to students’ lives.
Ideally, measures of student progress are aligned with functions central to a school’s priorities. However, given the unique nature of AECs, traditional performance measures and their applications via formal accountability systems may not align with programming and activities central to student success. This measure and programming misalignment is not just an inconvenience for AECs – it impacts schools’ abilities to serve students. Experience demonstrates that measures applicable to AECs are as driven by a static state accountability structure as they are by their impact on students and their learning environments.
The Measuring Opportunity Pilot Project supports school improvement by ensuring that the measures driving AEC programming are appropriately aligned to student needs. Plan implementation covers the three years beginning with the 2019-20 school year and is delivered through activities organized around the following: customized accountability, communications and outcomes, school support, and networking and collaboration.
The pilot project objective is to demonstrate how customizing measures to match student needs strengthen Colorado AECs and inform Colorado’s Accountability System.
Communications & Outcomes
The plan prioritizes stakeholder communications across all three project years and includes structured input from each schools’ community, student outcomes reported through Supplemental Accountability Reports, and annual reports for broader audiences interested in the pilot program.
The pilot project targets school support to participants focusing on school needs through different stages of the three-year plan.
Schools receive a “customized accountability roadmap” and measure customization in four areas that offer improved alignment with student needs – optional measures, unique measures, a multi-measure student re-engagement index, and comprehensive on-site school reviews.
Networking & Collaboration
This site was designed to be the communication platform, and participants are encouraged to collaborate with other project participants by connecting in the chat function area, reaching out via email, posting documents, and sharing resources.
All Colorado AEC’s were invited to participate, and there are 12 schools currently participating. At this point participation is closed. However, please contact us as there may be ways to connect to this project and impact this work.