New Colorado School Grades Website Offers Important Info to Families

Having more educational choices by itself is a good thing. Yet without enough accompanying information for families to make wise and effective choices, a lot of potential is lost. That’s one of the reasons why my Education Policy Center friends continue to offer the fantastic School Choice for Kids (SCFK) website, with all its helpful information for parents.

Today brings the launch of another helpful site that complements the work of SCFK. As the name suggests, the new site does something that SCFK does not. Namely, it rates schools and gives them a grade based on measures of academic performance (static numbers) and academic growth (progress over time). In a sense, it’s like the next generation of the school report cards the Independence Institute pioneered once upon a time before the state adopted — and later discarded — School Accountability Reports.

The Institute also is one of the 18 organizations that make up the coalition behind the site. So it’s only natural for me to be proud of the immediate coverage the site received in the Denver Post:

Under the coalition’s grading system, most schools are given a letter C for average, allowing the top performers to be highlighted.

The coalition grades on a curve, allowing only schools with the top 10 percent of scores — based on the state’s calculation — to receive an A.

If there is one disappointment I have, it would be that the site wasn’t able to issue ratings based on an objective standard. Still, grading on a curve has more value than not grading at all, as it enables parents to make relative comparisons between schools across the state of Colorado. And just like School Choice for Kids, it’s not only a great, accessible data set that’s parent-friendly, but it’s also available in both English and Espanol. Much more parent-friendly than the state’s School View site, which serves its own distinct purpose.

If you haven’t visited yet, time to spend 30 seconds and get your assignment:

With public school open enrollment season upon us, it’s great to have one more helpful resource out there for Colorado families to use.