This post was written by Ryan Marks, CSI Director of Evaluation and Assessment.
While the CSI Annual Review of Schools (CARS) currently serves as a model for other charter school authorizers in Colorado, CSI is interested in spurring continued innovation across the charter sector in Colorado and beyond. Our vision is to be recognized as the nation’s most effective charter school authorizer by building a portfolio of high performing charter public schools that serve all students and utilize innovative educational designs and we have begun to move closer to realizing that vision through our work to develop appropriate and rigorous measures that “measure the model”.
Last year, we convened a task force to explore accountability issues for alternative education campuses (AECs). AECs already have the opportunity to include optional measures on the state accountability framework which help to evaluate whether they are successfully serving their target populations and fulfilling their mission-specific goals. We produced a report summarizing our findings and this work has prompted us to expand beyond our AECs and partner with other schools with unique models within the CSI portfolio to develop new and novel ways to demonstrate success.
This year, we have begun work with our Montessori schools to better understand and visualize student learning trajectories within the Montessori model. We utilized interim assessment data to investigate patterns of achievement and growth in cohorts of students through the three-year cycle. While this work is still in the pilot phase, it has helped us to collaborate with our schools to use existing data to answer questions related to the impact of the school model on student outcomes. We are planning to continue this work with our Montessori schools and expand this work to other school models across the portfolio and leverage the model diversity within the portfolio to pilot innovative accountability measures.
While we believe that we have a strong and comprehensive accountability system at CSI, we want to continue to innovate and make sure that we have consistent and meaningful accountability for all schools as they implement their educational models. We are not alone in this work and the Colorado Education Initiative has been working to reimagine educational accountability. We are participating in this work with them and are at the table contributing our thoughts to the conversation as they engage in this work.