On Friday, the Colorado Department of Education unveiled SchoolVIEW.org, a new website that aims to make it easier than ever for parents to check on the standardized-testing achievements of a specific school and district -- and it does just that. For instance, I clicked on the "Colorado Growth Model" icon on the home page, then a select-by-name button. Next, I entered the name of Chatfield High School, which my daughters attend, and in seconds, I was provided with a simple-to-interpret scale for measuring the facility's overall rankings in math (just past a center line into the "higher growth" grid, roughly in the middle of the pack), reading (on the "lower growth" side but the "higher achivement" quadrant) and writing (also "lower growth," with the achievement not quite as high). Moreover, the "School Performance," "Learning Center" and "Community Connections" areas are a snap to navigate, too.
Of course, the larger question is whether the mania for standardized testing, symbolized by the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP, has improved education in this state or clogged it with inflexible legislative requirements that get in the way of creativity and suck up classroom time that could be used far more effectively. Unfortunately, none of the assorted numbers accessible on SchoolVIEW.org provide the answer.