A new website premiering today endeavors to make education performance in Colorado public schools more transparent and understandable for parents and students.
While the state already has a website for this purpose called SchoolView.org, Tim Taylor, president of Colorado Succeeds, says that it may be geared more toward policy wonks than parents and others trying to understand how their school stacks up.
The new website, ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, grades schools on a scale that’s much easier to understand: letter grades A through F. The site was put together by a coalition of 18 community organizations, including Colorado Succeeds, and the grades were calculated using the same variables and weights as the Colorado Department of Education’s School Performance Framework.
According to the new website, it’s important that parents and community members understand how the school in their area is performing before they can actively take part in efforts to make it better–much like any other structure in a democracy.
“Every parent can relate to grades A through F,” Taylor told the Denver Post. “We’re not changing inputs, just translating in a way that is clear.”
The website argues that the labels (performance, improvement, priority improvement and turnaround) used to indicate overall performance by the state’s department of education are too vague and not “rigorous enough.” Under the state system, schools in the 41st percentile and schools in the 99th percentile are both listed in the state’s top category.
“We just didn’t think you should have to be such a savvy consumer,” Taylor told Education News Colorado’ adding, “It’s easier to compare vacuum cleaners in Consumer Reports” than Colorado schools’ performance.