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“If we want to change the future for our students, our state and our nation, we need to change the way students are learning.” - Helayne Jones, President and CEO

Elo and accountability Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) is an innovative teaching and learning platform designed to ignite the unique potential of every child through the creation and delivery of dramatically customized learning experiences. ELO creatively and systematically integrates a vast range of new and existing teaching and learning tools, resources, modules and approaches into more personalized, engaging and relevant learning experiences that tap into each student’s passions, interests and learning styles inside and outside of the classroom.

Accountability in Colorado’s Context In 2009, Colorado adopted a new accountability system that holds the state, districts, and individual public schools accountable for performance on the same set of indicators and related measures statewide, and requires the completion of a Unified Improvement Plan. As part of this system, district and school performance framework reports (DPF and SPF) are used to determine accreditation designation at the district level and improvement plan status at the school level. State and federal accountability measures within these largely focus on academic achievement and academic growth as measured by the state summative assessment, CSAP. Colorado is participating in a number of innovative data projects that focus on updating and aligning state data systems and developing data standards and comprehensive information systems to support and promote personalized learning applications for educators and students. Primary examples include: • SchoolVIEW, Colorado’s public data portal, which provides easy access to data on federal and state accountability results, academic performance, and student and school demographics. • Relevant Information to Strengthen Education (RISE), an instructional improvement system that will provide immediate information about students, educators and schools to improve instruction and support student success from preschool to career. • Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL), Colorado’s educator identifier system that links student data to educators for the purposes of improving instruction, informing and increasing educator effectiveness, and supporting the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. • Strategic Learning Initiative (SLI), a multi-state project of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation that, when fully developed, will provide teachers with content, instruction, and assessment tools to differentiate instructional approaches based on individual students’ needs.

What is the connection between ELO and accountability? Building on the data projects underway, a five-year goal of the ELO Initiative is that the state’s data system will streamline data collection, reporting, sharing of content, and assessments to drive personalized learning and inform decision-making by stakeholders. While efforts such as those above should lend well to Colorado’s vision for personalized learning, the


accountability system will need to evolve to account for students engaging in multiple learning options (vs. one school), or assessments that are administered at the time when students are ready (vs. one fixed time per school year). Also, while the state assessment system is being revised to signal mastery of standards at grade level and incorporate formative and interim postsecondary and workforce measures, it is not yet known how the accountability system will adapt to incorporate these more timely and flexible elements. Making the connections between ELO and accountability means working at the systems level to enable and incentivize personalized learning decisions in classrooms and schools. For example, support and accountability measurements for team teaching and multiple modes of student learning in teacher and principal accountability/evaluation models; growth formulas that incorporate real-time measurements and multiple benchmarks of individual student growth, and learning that takes place across multiple venues; students to progress based on assessed mastery of learning rather than measures of seat time; and educators to have the time, space, support, and resources needed to provide personalized instruction to every student.

Why is this important? Changing the way students are learning will require systemic innovation not only in how schools and districts view learning, teaching, and classrooms, but also in how we access and allocate our critical resources: people, time, and funding. Colorado’s accountability system is designed to support, reinforce, and align the requirements and priorities of the statewide standards, assessments, and educator effectiveness systems. Accountability and support that offers appropriate autonomies and incentives to rethink allocation of resources will empower school and district leaders to leverage the personalized learning opportunities within these systems.

What is the benefit to students and teachers? The key elements of the ELO vision are meant to aid and accelerate the efforts of district and school leaders in implementation of the state’s accountability and data systems efforts. For example: How do elements of the ELO vision support accountability? Knowing the student means educators know what Incorporating more timely and individualized student data students know, can do, and are ready for, as well as, what will enable the accountability system to help drive, and be motivates them and how they work and learn best. more responsive to authentic implementation of standards, assessments, and educator effectiveness in local schools and districts. Modularizing content means educators have access to varied and flexible instructional tools and resources that allow them to offer content to students that is presented in different ways, at different paces, and with different support. They use what they know about each student to determine next steps, grade, as well as course completion and earned credit.

The ability to unbundle content will support educators in their ability to adjust and adapt to the hours, pace, or place a student learns best.

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How do elements of the ELO vision support accountability? Maximizing time means schools make the best use of Thinking differently about time should cause school and each minute in the day and each day in the year. Calendars district leaders to reflect on UIP priorities and differentiate and schedules are driven by student learning priorities and structures and schedules for students and teachers in new are organized to support educators’ ability to engage in the ways. assessment and planning required to deliver personalized approaches. Reimagining human capital means school leaders think Teacher-Student Data Link (TSDL) should provide creatively about how to get people into roles that allow each information about individual educator skills and growth teacher to give students his or her best each day. They areas to better place educators where they have also think differently about community partners and what it demonstrated to be most effective. means to be highly qualified to deliver specialized content in credit bearing courses.

What’s next? ELO Initiative implementation priorities and other upcoming opportunities: • CLF and CDE will continue to partner as a pilot state in the national SLI. This effort will support the platform being created by the SLI for use in pilot states by early 2013. While this effort holds great promise, it isn’t complete. As such, it is critical to separately capture and disseminate information about effective data and learning management systems currently being used by schools and districts in and outside of Colorado, including in proof point schools and districts. Recommendations from Colorado’s ELO Commission related to accountability: • Develop an assessment system that encompasses real-time measurements and creates flexibility for schools to test students when they are ready to advance. • Modify the longitudinal growth model to incorporate real-time measurements, multiple benchmarks of individual student growth and learning that takes place across multiple venues. Questions for consideration: • What efforts are underway to ensure that the requirements of online schools align with those of brick and mortar schools? • How can accountability systems incorporate effectiveness around use of community partners and blended learning to meet student needs?

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ELO and Accountability  

Expanded Learning Opportunities and Accountability Practices

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