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Assessing Colorado Rural Public School Performance

IB-2008-E (October 2008)
Author: Paul Mueller

PDF of full Issue Backgrounder
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Data from rural Colorado school districts show lower academic achievement is associated with socio-economic factors such as Free and Reduced lunch recipients and minorities.

Two rural Colorado school districts, Sargent School District and La Veta School District, are exceptions to the trend of academic achievement being negatively affected by socio-economic factors.  National education researchers Jay Greene and Douglas Reeves have both written about research that shows demographic factors do not determine student performance because “effective teaching and leadership make a difference” and can overcome socio-economic challenges.

The following practices are identified as practices associated with better student performance:

  • Clear, focused curriculum
  • Routine teacher collaboration
  • Identifying students who are struggling through regular assessments
  • Working to help students catch up