Data Access

The buttons below will take you to seven key sources of comparative K12 performance data. School View provides a range of pre-packaged information on school, district, and state performance, as well as access to school and district Unified Improvement Plans. You can find data and analyses by district and school by using the pull down menu above.

Other pages in this section cover standardized tests, and the challenges of using data well.

If you enjoy digging deeper into the data, CDE's School View/DataLab lets you select the CSAP/TCAP results you want, and to sort your results using up to five separate criteria. You can also export the results in Excel to allow further analysis. It is a very valuable tool. Back in 2012, we wrote a guide for parents who asked us about how to access DataLab. You can get it here.

A key issue that keeps coming up again and again in performance assessment discussions is how the Colorado Growth Model works. For example, we’ve lost track of the times we’ve heard the question, "if our median growth percentiles are so high, why aren't we seeing an increase in our percent of proficient and advanced students?" Click here for a paper that uses real examples to explain how the Colorado Growth Model works, and why the best metric to use depends on the question you are asking. And here is a one pager with the TCAP cut scores for partially proficient, proficient, and advanced by grade and subject.

You can also review a longer technical document that compares Colorado’s approach to other achievement growth analysis methodologies that are used in other states and countries.

CDE also maintains a page where you can download ACT results by school, district and state (see the button below). This is useful, as Colorado is one of the states that requires all Grade 11 students to take the ACT, and these tests are the last ones that every student in every district has to take. Unfortunately, you cannot sort the data using the criteria used for CSAP/TCAP results. Unfortunately, CDE has not put these data on DataLab. Also, if you want the actual distribution of ACT scores within a district, which -- critically -- shows how many 11th graders are below the cut scores for college and career readiness (warning: these data will usually generate frustration and anger) -- you have to obtain it directly from the district, or file a separate information request with CDE.

At the national level, results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP scores) are also very useful. Many more data sets are available through the National Center for Educational Statistics (including results for international tests like PISA and TIMSS).

The RAND Corporation (one of the nation’s preeminent think tanks) has just published an excellent guide to a wide variety of assessments you may encounter, including PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS, NAEP and Common Core/PARCC. You can download it here. And here is a new paper on alternative student growth metrics.

Many analyses of the PISA test results can be obtained at the OECD/PISA site. Many interesting articles have been written about how the US compares to other nations on PISA. Some of the best ones we’ve read are by Eric Hanushek from Stanford University. For example, in this recent article, Hanushek shows how the United States' relatively weak performance on PISA is not, as some allege, simply due to the fact that we have a relatively higher percentage of at-risk students. Depressingly, he shows that even US children from families with highly educated parents underperform students from many other countries who come from similarly educated families.

Finally, is a very interesting site, that uses statistical methods to convert state test scores for different districts into both NAEP scores and PISA scores. The only drawback to this site is that it takes time for them to update their information to include the latest test results.

Another hot button issue is the the magnitude and impact of the teacher absence problem. This report from the Center for American Progress finds that Colorado has the nation's tenth highest percentage of teachers who are absent ten or more days per school year. And this article highlights the substantial negative impact those absences have on student achievement. This report covers the same issue, as does this December 2015 article in the Washington Post. And here is a table showing the percent of teachers who were absent for more than 10 days in 2013/14 at each school in Jeffco. Finally, if you would like to obtain specific teacher absence data for individual districts and schools, you can find it by searching the US Department of Education's Civil Rights Database.

We’ve also put together quite a few data sets, using Excel and SchoolView DataLab. These include:

The TELL Colorado website enables you to access the results of teacher surveys at the school, district, and state level. I have found these to be particularly useful (see this SAC report). And as we gradually move forward with the implementation of Activity Based Costing in K12, we will also find that the time allocation information in the TELL surveys will be especially useful.