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2018 School Performance Framework Results

Tuesday, January 15, 2019  
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By Lorna Beckett
Director of Research and Evaluation


The Colorado Department of Education recently released the 2018 School Performance Framework (SPF) results for each school in the state. See chart to see how charter schools compare to non-charter schools.



While the SPF provides a legally approved framework ensuring accountability for public schools in Colorado, it may not capture the full picture of school quality. For example, a school’s SAT scores could be a more weighted indicator included in how schools are preparing students for postsecondary readiness. In 2018, out of the top 25 charter schools earning the highest SAT scores across Colorado, 15 were charter schools.
With the increased number of choices available across the state, parents must navigate a complex school choice landscape in order to select a school for their child.[1] In order to choose a school, parents consider many factors, and do not always select schools solely based on achievement scores.[2] Instead, several studies have found that factors such as curriculum type and small class sizes often matter more to parents when they are considering a school for their child .[3] Parents are seeking more robust information on school quality to help inform their choice,[4] but the available resources are limited.


If we want to enable public education to respond to 21st Century learner needs and family preferences, we must anchor how parents and educators define quality. We must also provide the resources to equip these families with the ability to get information, determine what’s important to them resulting in making informed decisions.

In 2019, to address this issue, the Colorado League of Charter Schools is undertaking the Redefining Quality Initiative. Through this Initiative, parents and educators will come together to define quality for the 21st Century. To establish a new framework for quality, the League will ask parents and educators what they value most in an exemplary public education. Once that framework has been established, the League will use it to evaluate schools and publicly present the results to help families decide which schools to attend and guide educators find to the right fit for their employment.


Additionally, the League has launched the Quality School Map (phase one) to help parents and educators learn more about schools in their neighborhood and how they are initially fitting into the framework. The map is available on the League’s website and provides information on all public schools across the state. This map will be updated with 2018-19 school year data in the coming months.


With School Choice Week approaching (week of January 20), it is vitally important that we not only celebrate the abundance of school options available to our children, but that we work to ensure the breakdown of barriers to making an informed choice. The number one priority in the League’s strategic plan is about “Redefining Quality” and the conversation starts now, continues through our annual Conference at the Member Forum and beyond.


[1] Altenhofen, S., Berends, M., & White, T.G. (2016). School Choice Decision Making Among Suburban, High-Income Parents. AERA Open, 2(1), p. 1-14.
[2] Gross, B., DeArmond, M., & Denice P. (2015). Common Enrollment, Parents, and School Choice. Center on Reinventing Public Education.
[3] Altenhofen, S., Berends, M., & White, T.G. (2016). School Choice Decision Making Among Suburban, High-Income Parents. AERA Open, 2(1), p. 1-14; Walton Family Foundation and Echelon Insights (2017). Millennials and Education. Walton Family Foundation.
[4] Wao, H., Hein, V., Villmar, R., Chanderbhan-Forde, S., & Lee, R. (2017). Parent Resource Centers: An Innovative Mechanism for Parental Involvement in School Choice Decisions. Journal of School Choice, 11(3), 334-356.

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