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ERIC Number: ED535184
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 49
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Great Expectations, Mixed Results: Standards and Performance in Denver's New Public Schools, 2007-2011
Ooms, Alexander
Donnell-Kay Foundation (NJ1)
In conjunction with the Denver Plan instituted in 2005, Denver Public Schools (DPS) has embarked upon a consistent strategy of opening new schools in an effort to improve overall academic performance. DPS has pursued this strategy under several different paths: an annual request for proposals from charter school applicants; allowing current schools to pursue innovation status under Colorado's 2008 Innovation Schools Act; and the redesign--usually including significant changes to both personnel and curricula--of chronically underperforming schools. This approach--a mix of new charter, innovation, and redesign schools--has been part of a gradual district shift from a centralized administration with operational control of all schools, to district oversight of different types of schools with a variety of both governance models and autonomy. Thirty-six new schools have been initiated in Denver in the past five years and have academic growth data for their students, but these schools have been compared differently, under varying criteria and against disparate data sets, with little strategic attention or acknowledgement of which programs or school types are improving, which are seeing the substantial increases in performance, and which are falling short. The author believes it is time to begin to disaggregate and untangle this mix of new schools and both establish and report on new school performance. For this paper, the author measures the academic growth of every newly created school in Denver that commenced operations between 2007 and 2011 by examining their median growth percentile (MGP). Median growth percentiles, calculated by the Colorado Department of Education, measure the annual academic progress of student cohorts on the CSAP test and are, in the author's belief and despite their limitations, the best available measure of student academic growth across different schools and different years. This paper examines the academic performance of these new schools both as a group and segregated by school type (charter, innovation and redesign). The data in this analysis is based on a small sample over a limited period of time and is neither conclusive nor definitive. The author hopes that this analysis will be only the first of multiple efforts that help delineate the performance of Denver's new schools. Appended are: (1) Individual school profiles; (2) Methodology; (3) List of DPS New Schools 2007-2011; and (4) List of schools and median growth percentile. (Contains 13 footnotes.
Donnell-Kay Foundation. 730 17th Street Suite 950, Denver, CO 80202. Tel: 720-932-1544; Fax: 303-534-5785; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Donnell-Kay Foundation
Identifiers - Location: Colorado