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Department of Assessment
and Research

Educational Services Center 1
15701 E. 1st Ave., Suite 112
Aurora, CO 80011
Ph: (303) 340-0861
Fax: (303) 326-2053
Mya Martin-Glenn, Ph.D.
- Director
Andrea Payne
- Department Secretary
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Meaningful and relevant tests work hand in hand with rigorous academic standards.  They measure students’ mastery of the standards and the complex thinking and other critical skills students need to be successful in school and in life.  There are several tests that help us do this for different reasons and types of students.   

District Interim and Benchmark Tests

Acuity-Teachers are able to use the test results down to the item level to determine where students are and where they need to be relative to district targets. These interim assessments align to both the Colorado Academic Standards and Common Core.  These assessments will allow for educators, students and families to monitor students’ progress toward successfully meeting standards.

AGATE (Naglieri)-The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) is a nonverbal test of general ability commonly used to identify gifted children. The questions on the NNAT are composed of shapes and/or symbols and require few instructions. All students are tested in 2nd grade, and this test helps us identify if the students need some extra instruction to help them excel at academics at their level.

Elementary Literacy Assessments-The Literacy program utilizes an assessment battery for pre-testing and post-testing of students. It provides insight into starting points of instruction and determines if the instruction has resulted in targeted outcomes for students.

  • The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)- PALS provides a comprehensive assessment of young children’s knowledge of the important literacy fundamentals that are predictive of future reading success.
  • Benchmark Assessment System(BAS)-The BAS is a reading inventory that allows teachers to gather immediate data on students. This data can then be analyzed to guide instruction in a way that is more beneficial than many other assessments students take.

State Tests

CMAS-English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA/L) and Mathematics Assessments (PARCC) Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)-In compliance with legislation, Colorado joined the PARCC consortia as a governing member in August 2012. PARCC is a multi-state assessment consortium that is developing shared English language arts and Literacy (ELA/L) and mathematics assessments.  This test will be administered to students in grades 3-9.

Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Science and Social Studies and Alternative test (COALT)-The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS): Science and Social Studies is Colorado’s standards-based assessment designed to measure the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) in the content areas of science and social studies.  This test will be administered to grades 4 and 7 for social studies and grades 5, 8, and 11 for science.  A very small number of students with significant cognitive disabilities may take the Colorado Alternate Assessment (CoAlt) based on the student's need in an Individualized Education Plan.

Here are some resources on how to read the score report from last Spring's testing that you should have received or will be receiving soon.  

CMAS-PARCC scorecard explainer-2016        CMAS-PARCC Scorecard explainer-2016 spanish

CMAS-PARCC-Scorecard Support-2016         CMAS-PARCC-Scorecard Support-2016 spanish

PSAT 10/SAT-The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) confirmed a transition plan for sophomores to take the PSAT 10 this April in preparation for Colorado’s transition to the SAT in spring 2017.  CDE selected the SAT as the college entrance exam for high school juniors and the PSAT 10 for high school sophomores. The selection committee cited the strong alignment of the PSAT 10 and the SAT to the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) and the variety of free test preparation resources offered by the College Board as key factors in its determination.

WIDA Access (World Class Instructional Design and Assessment)-This is an English Language Proficiency Assessment.  In May 2012, the Colorado legislature provided the funding needed to proceed with the adoption of new English language proficiency exams to determine placement and instruction for our English Language Learners. 

*For more information on any of these tests, you can visit each test's page on this website under Assessment Resources.

More resources:

District Assessment Plan 2016-17 Coming soon!

Assessment calendar 2016-17- 7/21/16

Colorado Dept of Educations website

PARCC Website:  http://www.parcconline.org/for-parents

Purpose and value of state assessments

Opt-out info (Parent Exemption for State tests)

During the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers passed SB 15-223, which gives parents the right to refuse to have their children take the state standardized tests CMAS, PARCC, PSAT, ACT (2016 only), and SAT (2017 and beyond) without any negative consequences to the student, teacher or school. This law only applies to the state-mandated tests CMAS and PARCC and the PSAT/SAT/ACT and does not apply to other tests given in the classroom as part of the course work or to district interim and benchmark assessments.  You must submit a written, signed request each school year to your school's principal to opt out your child from state tests only.  Please remember, the tests results are important for the school, the district, and the state, as well as your students when examining how they are doing with state standards compared to other students.  Please contact the principal at your child's school if you have any questions.

Click here for the links to specific board policies on “opting out” of state assessments as well as frequently asked questions about the assessments.

Opt-Out Law

Parent test refusal board policy

Opt Out Forms-16-17_ENG-SPAN -Please print, fill out, and take to your child's school


Spring State Assessment Letters and FAQ to Parents

Click here to access the parent letter and FAQ about the spring 2017 state assessments.


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Department of Assessment & Research: Have questions about this site? Contact camsmith@aps.k12.co.us