District 51 Officials Take Part in Making Statewide Education Changes
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- With the passing of SB 191, teachers across the state will now be evaluated in new ways to make sure students are achieving the updated Colorado Academic Standards.
A total of four School District 51 officials are joining many others statewide to make the transition into the new way of looking at educator effectiveness, which will now be based 50 percent on their students' academic growth.
"I think that having responsibility and ownership for students' achievement is important," said Krista Smith, a secondary English language arts content specialist who's taking part in the Colorado Department of Education's Content Collaborative Project.
Smith has joined three other educators in School District 51 to help the state come up with a new way to assess the progress of students, which will then show if the teacher is being effective.
"The intention of Senate Bill 191 is to make sure that we are growing students," said Ann Conaway, a teacher at Palisade High School and a high school math content specialist with the project. "If we're all doing our jobs our students should be growing."
The Content Collaborative Project is comprised of many groups broken up into separate subject areas, each looking into new ways to test students' growth.
"Student achievement has never been a requirement from the state level to maintain a qualified teacher or a qualified principal," said Smith.
Although the familiar standardized tests will still exist, the new assessments will give a better picture of whether students are understanding concepts.
"When you have a single snapshot like TCAP, it's hard to evaluate those students. They know the standards, but under time pressure they can't produce that," said Conaway.
"Having this test bank gives teachers and school districts the option to provide multiple opportunities for kids to show what they know, which is better than a one-day event," said Smith.
Each group is still working on which assessments they will choose for their subject areas, which will have to be fully implemented across the state at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.