Colorado Assessment Letter

March 23, 2006

Honorable William J. Moloney
Commissioner of Education
Colorado Department of Education
201 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80203-1704

Dear Commissioner Moloney:

Thank you for submitting Colorado’s assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support Colorado’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education (ED) staff evaluated Colorado’s submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it did not meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Colorado must provide in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under NCLB. That evidence is listed on the last pages of this letter.

I urge you to submit any available evidence demonstrating how Colorado’s system meets the standards and assessment requirements as soon as possible. I also request that, as soon as possible, you provide us a plan (with a detailed timeline) for how Colorado will meet any remaining requirements. When Colorado has submitted this additional evidence and plan, ED staff will review it and schedule a second peer review, if necessary. Based on the available evidence, I will determine the appropriate approval status for Colorado’s standards and assessment system.

Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Colorado’s assessment materials. The peer reviewers, experts in the areas of standards and assessment, review and discuss a State’s submission of evidence and prepare a consensus report. I hope you will find the reviewers’ comments and suggestions helpful.

We look forward to working with Colorado to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call David J. Harmon (202-205-3554) or Abigail Potts (202-260-2465) of my staff.


Henry L. Johnson


cc: Beth Celva

Summary of Additional Evidence that Colorado Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Colorado Assessment System


  1. Documentation of diverse stakeholder involvement for the updated Model Content Standards for Mathematics.
  2. The rigor and challenge in the objectives component of Colorado’s standards, benchmarks, objectives (e.g., Depth of Knowledge levels for the objectives from the alignment reviews).
  3. Documentation clarifying the development of the grade level assessment objectives, their adoption by the State Board, and whether or not they will drive development of future forms of the statewide assessments, beyond the time period of the current test support contractor.


  1. Approved, academic achievement standards that show alignment to the State’s grade level content standards (objectives) with documentation of stakeholder participation.
  2. Approved, alternate academic achievement standards for Colorado Student Assessment Program-Alternate.


  1. Comparability of the Lectura and CSAP reading at grades three and four.


  1. Validity for the CSAP, CSAP-A, and Lectura.
  2. Subpopulation reliability for the CSAP and Lectura.
  3. For CSAP, documentation of the standard setting process with descriptions of the selection of judges, methodology employed, and final results.
  4. Documentation that accommodations yield meaningful scores.
  5. Documentation of the technical quality of the methods used to ensure consistency of test forms over time.


  1. Alignment of 3-8 and high school assessments in reading and mathematics with academic content standards and with the academic achievement standards.
  2. Additional CSAP-A alignment study results with implications for program improvement.


  1. Enrollment and number of students assessed by grade level, content area, and subgroup.


  1. “Mockup” of school level disaggregated CSAP summary reports with the students with disabilities subgroup illustrated.
  2. Documentation that CSAP and CSAP-A score interpretive material and information are routinely provided to parents/guardians and school personnel.
  3. Report showing the number of students taking the Colorado tests and enrollment by grade, subject, and subgroup.
  4. Provide policies and procedures established to ensure that student-level data are maintained in a secure manner and that student confidentially is maintained consistent with FERPA and applicable State laws, if any.
  5. Documentation of the timelines by which the student, school, and district data reports are prepared and disseminated.

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