Colorado Standards and Assessments

Colorado Standards

Do you understand Colorado's Grade Level Standards for your child? If not, here they are (though this is NOT light reading!): This set of (long) standards documents cover all grades, and includes Math, Science, "Reading, Writing, and Communicating", and Social Studies.

On the Colorado Department of Education’s website, you can download grade level content standards for different areas of study.

And here is the set of "Prepared Graduate Competencies" that these standards, if they are met, should develop in your child.

The state uses CSAP/TCAP/CMAS tests to assess the extent to which your child has mastered these grade level standards. And in Grade 11, all Colorado students take the national ACT test to assess their college and career readiness (since the ACT has about a .80 correlation with the military's ASVAP test, the ACT does a reasonable job of assessing readiness in that area too). Starting in 2017, the ACT will be replaced by the SAT.


We’ve all heard anecdotes about testing: here is a table showing the actual amount of time your child will spend on tests, both before and after the passage of 2015 legislation on this issue.

Would you like to better understand what your child's MAP scores imply for their future ACT results? This two-pager and this longer analysis will help you to do that.

If you are worried about your child's math score on the MAP (and/or if your child has been identified as needing extra support after a Response to Intervention/RIT assessment by her/his school), and you would like to use Khan Academy for some extra help, NWEA, the producers of the MAP assessment, have provided some great new guides that help you to find what you'll need on Khan, based on MAP scores. These guides are for K-2, 2-5, and 6 and higher. They make great background reading before you talk with your child's teacher about how to improve those math results.

Do you understand all the metrics produced by the Colorado Growth Model? For example, your child's TCAP or CMAS score, his or her growth percentile, cut scores, proficiency rates, and Effect Sizes? If not, this background briefing is for you. And here is a one pager with the TCAP score ranges by subject and grade level.

Now that TCAP has been replaced by CMAS (PARCC), here is a simple explanation of the four different CMAS performance categories, here are the category score ranges for English Language Arts and Math, and here at the cut scores for Science and Social Studies.

Every 11th grade student in Colorado must take the national ACT test to assess their "college and career readiness." ACT scores are also used by many colleges as part of their admissions process. The ACT organization has produced some excellent research on college and career readiness. Here is their short overview of the readiness benchmarks, and here is longer paper on why they are important.

Detailed definitions of the readiness benchmarks are available for reading, english composition, math, and science.