CDE News Release: Education stakeholders do not reach consensus on administration of CMAS math, English language arts tests for this spring

Dec. 2, 2020
For more information, contact:
CDE Communications Division, 720-668-6434

News Release

Education stakeholders do not reach consensus on administration of CMAS math, English language arts tests for this spring

Group supports PSAT, SAT tests for high school students 

DENVER – The final report by the COVID-19 Policy Implications Stakeholder Group released today recommends some statewide assessments should continue as planned this spring while others should not occur. No decision was reached on whether the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests in mathematics and English language arts should be administered to the state’s third through eighth graders.

The Colorado General Assembly last spring called for the creation of a stakeholder group of Colorado education leaders to advise policymakers on what, if any, changes should be made to state law around testing and accountability because of the COVID-19 crisis. Final decisions are up to the legislature since these matters are tied to state law. 

On assessments, the group said schools should administer the PSAT and SAT to the extent that local health orders allow and that CMAS tests in science and social studies should be canceled in the spring. The group did not reach a consensus agreement on administering the CMAS mathematics and English language arts tests to third through eighth graders for a range of conflicting reasons. Some stakeholders wanted to administer the tests to be able to measure student learning loss and others did not want the tests to be conducted out of concern over the misinterpretation of the results within the context of COVID-19.

Additionally, the group recommended the School and District Performance Frameworks should be paused for the 2021-22 school year, allowing the school or district’s rating to be rolled over from 2020. The 2020 ratings were previously rolled over from 2019 because assessments were not given in spring 2019 due to the pandemic. 

The group also said educator evaluations should be based 100% on their professional practice score for the 2020-21 school year only. 

“We are thankful for the diligence and hard work from all members of the group who tackled these issues with compassion for our students and teachers,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “No one could have predicted the massive disruption in our education system caused by the pandemic. There are no easy answers to questions about how we can understand the impact the pandemic has had on learning and how we take action to support all kids, but the careful, thorough thinking of the members should help the legislature take informed action when they convene in January.”

More information from the Stakeholder Group may be found on the Stakeholder Group webpage, including the final report, all meeting recordings, slide deck presentations, Zoom chat box notes, and all meeting materials.

Stakeholder members: 

  • Amie Baca-Oehlert, Colorado Education Association
  • Elizabeth Casillas, Denver Metro Region
  • Carol Eaton, Technical Advisory Panel and Jefferson County School District
  • Christina Ethier, Association for Colorado Education Evaluators and Cherry Creek School District
  • Paul Freeman, Roaring Fork School District RE-1
  • Chris Gibbons, Colorado League of Charter Schools and STRIVEPrep
  • Da'Lisa Hatcher, Third Future Schools - Coperni 2 Charter School
  • Peter Hilts, District 49
  • Jennifer Holladay, Denver Public Schools
  • Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, Archuleta School District 50 JT
  • Bret Miles, Colorado Association of School Executives
  • Michelle Murphy, Colorado Rural Alliance
  • Stephanie Perez-Carrillo, Colorado Children's Campaign
  • Amy Pitlik, Stand for Children
  • Luke Ragland, Ready Colorado
  • Johan Van Nieuwenhuizen, Weld County School District RE-1
  • Jen Walmer, Democrats for Education Reform
  • Jason Westfall, Colorado Association of BOCES
  • Cheri Wrench, Colorado Association of School Boards

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