The Aspen School District earned high or excellent performance ratings in the latest round of school “report cards” released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Education. Basalt schools also performed well, earning high or average marks.

By Katie Redding, Dec 10, 2008 The Aspen Times, Aspen, CO Colorado,
The ratings are one aspect of the voluminous school accountability reports, but they are often cited as an indicator of schools’ educational quality. Education websites such as Great and real estate websites like frequently use the ratings to guide parents and potential home buyers regarding the performance of schools in various districts.

Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said the ratings matter to the districts because they carry weight in public perception. Still, they are only one piece of information, she said.

“The easy thing is to think if [a school] is not excellent [in performance] and high [in growth] it must be a horrible place,” she said.

But the grades are based entirely on three hours of students’ time, she noted.

“A three-hour snapshot is just that,” she said.

Aspen Superintendent Diana Sirko said she was generally pleased with the district’s high rating, but she was puzzled by a “low” growth rating for the fifth and sixth grades at Aspen Middle School. The score didn’t match the data the district received in the fall, which showed high growth and achievement for all grades, according to Sirko. The district is trying to find out more information about the score, she said.

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