Guiding Questions for MSL Systems:


Since the 2013-14 school year, Colorado districts have been creating and implementing Measures of Student Learning (MSL) systems that comprise the 50% of an educator’s evaluation that is based on student academic growth. To help districts in this effort, The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) has engaged in a multi-year study focused on MSL system trends across the state beginning in the 2013-14 school year. During the 2015-16 school year, CEI contracted with Slope Research (Slope) to gather information about MSL system design and implementation from school districts across Colorado. This most recent study also had a focus on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). Slope collected information from 56 districts representing 31 percent of all Colorado districts and 46 percent of Colorado’s teachers and students.

This document outlines overarching themes that emerged across districts and presents guiding questions for all districts to consider as they develop and improve their MSL systems.

2015-16 School Year

For the 2015-16 school year, districts will also need to consider the implications of H.B. 15-1323, which specifies that for this school year only, districts and local school boards may not use the 2014-15 results of the new state assessments in their MSL systems. Those assessments are CMAS science and social studies, and CMAS PARCC English language arts and math. State assessment results from 2014-15 may be used as baseline data only, not as final results.

Another requirement of H.B. 15-1323 is that state and local assessment results can only be used in the current year’s evaluation if those results are available two weeks prior to the last day of class.

This document is designed to provide guidance for districts as they refine their MSLs both for the 2015-16 school year and subsequent years when districts should incorporate the CMAS assessments per S.B. 10-191 rules.

Guiding Questions

Guiding questions are organized into four themes:

  1. Overarching system design: Here, districts consider whether their MSL system reflects a balanced assessment system grounded in the standards and district curricula, ensures comparability and fairness across educators and measures, and results in any unintended consequences.
  2. Measure selection: In this section, districts consider the selection and design of the individual measures that comprise their MSL system. In particular, they are asked to reflect upon their decisions regarding individual versus collective attribution, the selection of weights and measures, and target setting.
  3. Data use and assessments: Next, districts reflect on the importance of assessment literacy in implementing their MSL systems and examine their decisions regarding the use of pre- and post- assessments, SLOs, state summative assessments, and data from the School Performance Framework (SPF) or District Performance Framework (DPF)
  4. MSL process and stakeholder engagement: Finally, districts consider the MSL process and stakeholder engagement by reflecting on educator input, transparency and timing, and continuous improvement.

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