Adams County School District 14
     5291 East 60th Avenue
     Commerce City, CO 80022
  303.853.3333    303.853.3329


The Role of State Assessments in Increasing Academic Achievement

Adams 14 School District utilizes assessment data as an essential element in the Teaching and Learning Cycle. We have created an assessment plan to provide consistent measures of what our students know and are able to do in order to provide evidence to support teachers and school staff in planning instruction and providing feedback to students. Our goal is to provide exceptional service for data collection, reporting, and analysis used to inform instruction and improve student achievement.





ACCESS for ELLs is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given annually to kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English Language Learners (ELL). It provides educators and parents information about the English language profciency level in the language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

Adams 14 utilizes the ACCESS for ELLs data for multiple purposes. One primary use of the results is to ensure that our English Language Learner students are adequately developing proficiency in English. The data is also used for programmatic planning, instructional emphasis, and appropriate placement into English Language Development classes. As with any use of data, we believe that using multiple measures is vital to provide a composite profile of each learner in order to maximize their potential for growth and academic success in Adams 14.

For more information on WIDA please visit

WIDA Screener: 

WIDA Screener is an English Language proficiency assessment given to incoming students in Grades 1-12 to assist educators with the identification of students as English language learners. 


The W-APT™ stands for the WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test.W-APT is the screener used to assist in the identification of Kindergarten students that qualify for English Language Acquisition programming. 



Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are the state’s common measurement of students’ progress at the end of the school year in English language arts, math, science and social studies. CMAS assessments are standards-based and are designed to measure the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS). The Colorado Department of Education, testing contractor Pearson, and Colorado educators collaborated to develop these assessments, ensuring alignment to the standards, as well as innovative ways of measuring knowledge and understanding

  • CMAS Fact Sheet (English)
  • CMAS Fact Sheet (Spanish)
  • English Language Arts and Math 
    Students in grades 3-8 take the CMAS English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments. The CMAS English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments are administered in April
  • Science and Social Studies
    Science and Social Studies assessments are administered in elementary, middle, and high schools. Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 take the science assessments. The social studies assessments are administered in grades 4, 7 to a sampling of schools. The CMAS Science and Social Studies assessments are administered in April.
  • Colorado Alternative Assessment (CoAlt) / Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)
    The Alternate Assessments are designed to measure what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do. Students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) who are not able to take CMAS will instead take the Colorado Alternate Assessments in Science and Social Studies, and the Dynamic Learning Maps for English Language Arts and Math.  


State College Entrance Exams

PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10
The PSAT (pre-SAT) for 9th and 10th graders aligns to the literacy and mathematics expectations in Colorado. The PSAT measures the same skills and knowledge as the SAT in a way that makes sense for ninth and tenth graders. It focuses on the knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as most important for college and career readiness and success. 

11th  grade students take the SAT as the college entrance exam for Colorado.The advantages to the SAT include:

  • SAT is currently accepted by all public, private, accredited, and not-for-profit colleges in the state of Colorado and across the United States. 
    • A close alignment to the content and expectations in the Colorado Academic Standards
    • The availability of free resources, including practice tests, to help students prepare
    • The annual release of items so that the look and feel of the assessment is familiar, and students can determine what items they got right and wrong


  • The PSAT and SAT Fact Sheet
Parent Opt-Out for CMAS and SAT/PSAT 

In the 2015 legistlative session, lawmakers passed SB15-223, which gives parents the right to refuse to have their children take the state standardized tests CMAS, PSAT and SAT without any negative consequences to the student, teacher or school.  This law ONLY applies to the state-mandated CMAS and the PSAT/SAT and does not apply to other assessments.  You must submit a written, signed request each school year to your school's principal to opt out your child from state CMAS and PSAT/SAT tests only. Please remember, the assessment results are used by educators for instructional planning, class placement, and academic screening and that this information will not be available to your child's educators.

To opt your child out, please speak with the principal at your child's school for a copy of this form, or print out the attached form and submit to the school directly.



TS Gold

Teaching Strategies (TS) Gold is an ongoing, observation-based assessment for preschool and kindergarten students. It meets the state requirements of the early readiness assessment in accordance with Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids passed in 2008.

Teaching Strategies GOLD can be used with any developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum and is based on 38 research-based objectives that include predictors of school success and are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, state early learning guidelines, and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. These help teachers focus on what matters most for children’s success.




The READ ACT for Colorado went into effect July 1st, 2013 and is driven by House Bill 12-1238. The Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development ACT focuses on students who have been identified with a significant reading deficiency. Adams 14 uses STAR Reading, DIBELS (English) and IDEL (Spanish) assessments to gather data for the READ ACT.


DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS).  It is comprised of six measures that functions as indicators of the essential skills that every child must master to become a proficient reader.  The DIBELS measures are brief (most take one minute to administer), and are used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.  DIBELS was designed for use in identifying children experiencing difficulty in the acquisition of basic early literacy skills, in order to provide support early and prevent the occurrence of later reading difficulties.    

IDEL is a research-based formative assessment series designed to measure the basic early literacy skills of children learning to read in Spanish.  The IDEL measures are not a translation of DIBELS, although they are based on the same research-based evidence of how children learn to read in alphabetic languages.  IDEL, however also carefully takes into account the linguistic structure of the Spanish language including the phonology, orthography, and syntax.  The measures are standardized, short, individually administered, and can be used to regularly monitor the development of early Spanish literacy skills.  

For more information on the READ ACT visit the Colorado Department of Education.




STAR assessments are computer adaptive, meaning each question is adjusted for each individual student based on their individual performance. This data provides instructional planning and growth targets for teachers for both math and reading.

  • To learn more about Renaissance Learning click here


Assessment Strategy


The Assessment Department serves as a guide in the adoption of local assessments as well as coordinates the implementation of student assessment throughout the district. We provide assessment administration guidance, data collection and reporting, and support in analyzing student data to inform instruction and increase student achievement.

  • Provide a reliable assessment strategy for Pre-K through 12th grade
  • Manage federal, state, and local assessment initiatives
  • Provide accurate and timely information regarding testing purposes, procedures, and results; and
  • Provide guidance on the appropriate use of assessment results for accountability purposes


What to expect from state assessments for 2019 - 2020


Assessment Questions or Concerns?  

Jamie Ball - Manager of Accountability and Assessment

email:   phone: 720-322-8145

Michelle Genaro - District Assessment Coordinator

email:  phone 720-322-8101







Each year, Colorado schools and districts receive performance ratings to let them and their communities know how well they are doing. These reports are called the District Performance Frameworks (DPFs) and School Performance Frameworks (SPFs). The overall ratings assigned are based on achievement and growth on state assessments, along with such postsecondary measures as graduation rates, drop-out rates, college entrance exams and college matriculation rates. The ratings help the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and State Board of Education (SBE) make decisions about how to help struggling schools.