The Colorado Standards and Assessments Task Force (HB14-1202): Report of Findings and Recommendations

In 2014, the Colorado General Assembly created the Colorado Standards and Assessments Task Force to study Colorado’s state and local assessment systems. A key goal was to reduce the testing burden on school districts and schools, as well as to address technology assessment needs and costs. Although consensus was not always reached, the task force made a broad number of recommendations including: 

  • Eliminate state-mandated tests in 12th grade;
  • Eliminate state-mandated tests in 11th grade except for a college entrance exam;
  • Fulfill high school science assessment requirements with an augmented college entrance exam, such as the ACT;
  • Consider whether to continue state-mandated ELA and math exams at 9th grade; 
  • Consider whether to continue state-funded social studies tests in 4th and 7th grades; 
  • Administer ELA and Math assessments at 10th grade to fulfill state and federal requirements; 
  • Provide paper and pencil options for all tests; and
  • Proactively address parent and student opt outs. 

The task force also made several recommendations to reduce Kindergarten testing.

Content Comments 

The purposes of this report are effectively described and met. Using effective methodology, the authors nicely summarize their assessment task force study without bias.

Their study results should be useful to other states and school districts who are concerned about similar assessments issues. These include the growing number of tests, unnecessary or duplicate tests, and tests that provide little new actionable information. 

The report covers other important issues, including the growing technology requirements of newer tests and the large number of locally administered tests. The latter is only lightly covered. Communications quality is reasonable although there is some duplicated information. This is a basic state report written primarily for education policymakers rather than the public. Evidence of effectiveness is not described, but the overall report quality, including its unbiased discussion of testing issues, suggests a potential impact on learning.