Subject: 2019 State Assessments

Dear Horizons Families,

As you may know, our students will take the State of Colorado’s Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science assessment in April. We would like to take a moment to encourage all families at Horizons K-8 school to have their children take the test and to thank you for your support last year.  Our school’s participation rate increased from 33% in 2016-17 to 78% in 2017-18.

As a charter school, our participation in standardized assessments is especially important as we are required to uphold excellent academic accountability as a part of our charter contract with BVSD.  As we approach our charter renewal next fall, it will be important for us to demonstrate our students’ growth as evidenced by many measures, including the CMAS assessments. For these reasons and others, Horizons expects all students to participate in these assessments. As a school with strong data-driven instruction, standardized tests are an important component of our program. With your support, your student can help show how well our school and the school district, as a whole, is performing.

By participating in the state assessments:

  • Our educators will have access to valuable data about the performance of our students and apples-to-apples comparisons to students across the district and the state.
  • Data collected helps Horizons K-8 teachers and leaders to determine if curriculum and instructional practices are working, helping to direct resources and professional development.
  • Our school is currently rated a Performance School by the state, using the framework linked here. Participation rates affect our state rating.
  • The better we do on our tests, the better our grades on sites like CDE’s SchoolView, Niche, School Grades, etc. These grades are, in part, what prospective parents use to compare us with other schools in the area — and a pride point for our school community.

Consistent with last year’s administration, our focus will be on supporting students as they take the test.  As a result, families are asked (though not required) to arrange an excused absence from school on testing days and appropriate alternative activities of their own if their child will not be participating. Students will be taking one test per day to help maintain our regular school routines. 


Below is a specific list of the tests and which grades will be taking the tests. 3rd, 4th, 6th & 7th graders will take approximately 6 hours of tests; 5th and 8th graders will take approximately 9 hours of tests due to science testing.

English Language Arts: Grades 3-5

Math: Grades 3-8

Science: Grade 5 and Grade 8

We encourage you to please speak with your student(s) about giving their best efforts on the assessments.  Supporting your student to get a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast (in addition to encouragement) is also important!

Again, we would like to encourage all of our students to participate in testing this year. If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to chat with you about this important effort no later than March 4, which is the district deadline for submitting written requests to opt a student out of testing. Please contact Lauren or Cece with any questions or concerns.


Lauren Tracey, Principal and Cece Davis, Assistant Principal



The purpose of assessing student progress at Horizons is to measure growth toward and beyond BVSD and state academic standards as well as individual goals. Horizons students set and evaluate their own goals, in cooperation with their parents, as facilitated by their homeroom teachers. Students do not receive grades. Assessment measures used at Horizons include:


A portfolio is a collection of student work, which provides evidence of progress. Individual student portfolios include personal goals, self­ evaluations, assessments, and work samples in all content areas. Seventh and eighth grader maintain an “e-portfolio” or electronic portfolio.

Digital Recordings

Regular digital recordings may occur as we assess presentation skills. These provide a visual record of a student’s progress. If available, when a student graduates, these are offered to parents with their child’s academic portfolio.

Colorado State Assessments

Yearly assessment is required in grades 3­-8 by the Colorado Department of Education to determine both proficiency and growth levels on these measures. In 2018-19, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) will make up the state’s common assessments.

Who is required to participate in CMAS & PARCC:

  • English Language Arts – Grades 3-8
  • Math – Grades 3-8
  • Social Studies – Grades 4 and 7 (to be administered on a sampling basis with schools participating once every three years, some BVSD schools will be selected in any given year)
  • Science – Grades 5 and 8

Fall/Spring Conferences

There are two, one­ hour long student­-led family conferences held each year for the purpose of presenting student work samples, goal-setting and evaluating progress. Student-led conferences are a significant part of a student’s experience here at Horizons as they give each student a chance to begin to integrate what they are learning and to take ownership of their learning. In conference, students have the opportunity to share with others what they value, what they are learning about and an increasing level of self­ awareness about who they are and how they will be of service in the world.

Fall Conference Dates: 

October 31- November 2, 2018: K-4 Conferences

November 1-2, 2018, 5-8: Conferences

Spring Conference Dates:

February 7-8, 2019: 7-8 Conferences

March 20 – 22, 2019: K-4 Conferences

March 21 – 22, 2019: 5-6 Conferences

Literacy and Math Assessments

Teachers of grades K-­5 administer BVSD literacy and math, and other assessments at regular intervals throughout the year.  These interim measurements allow for teachers to gather and track data as to student progress in these critical areas.