with the goal of ensuring students are meeting
grade-level standards in mathematics, science,
reading and writing. The test results provide an
indication of student achievement in reading,
writing, math and science as the students
move from the third through the 10th grades.
State law requires the Colorado Department
of Education to report on the progress and/
or outcomes for a number of state programs.
These reports are submitted to the State
Board of Education, the House and Senate
Education Committees of the General
Assembly, and the Governor’s Office as
required per statute.
The Colorado Department of Education
(CDE) is required to report CSAP results for
the state and for each local school district. In
order to maintain accreditation, schools must
meet minimum CSAP standards. Refer to the
SchoolView Portal or to the CDE website at
www.cde.state.co.us for more information on
testing. See the Public Schools for a listing of
Denver area public school districts.
COLLEGE PLACEMENT TESTS
Colorado students excel in standard college
entrance exams such as the American
College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Colorado colleges and
universities use the ACT for the primary
college entrance exam and it is required for
all 11th grade students.
In 2013, the average ACT score for Colorado students’ was 20. 4 (the national
average was 20. 9). This disparity is most
certainly related to Colorado’s universal
testing requirement. Colorado is one of
only three states that require all students—
regardless of whether or not they plan to
go to college—to take the ACT.
Of the nearly 7,500 Colorado high school
students who took the SAT in 2016, the
average composite score was 944 and the
national average is 972. Colorado students
consistently rank in the top 25 percent of the
country for the highest ACT and SAT scores
per 1,000 high school graduates.
Colorado has given a college entrance exam
each spring to all 11th graders enrolled in
public schools since 2001.
In 2015 the Colorado legislature passed House
Bill 15-1323, requiring the state to competitively bid for a new 10th grade exam that
is aligned to both the Colorado Academic
Standards and an 11th grade college entrance
exam. The legislation also added the opportunity for students to take an additional, optional
essay as part of their college entrance exam at
no cost to the student.
The selection committee chose the PSAT for
10th graders and the SAT for the 11th grade
college entrance exam because of their alignment to the high school Colorado Academic
Standards and because the College Board’s
reports and free test preparation services
could be used by all students. For 2018, the
PSAT 8/9 was added for students in grade
9. Students who choose to participate in
services offered by The College Board will be
connected to resources and activities designed
to help identify next steps for extra support or
About 93 percent of Colorado 11th graders, or
about 61,000 students, took the SAT in 2017
with an average total score of 1014.3.
A LONG HISTORY OF
Denver history of higher education goes back
a long way, and some of the oldest universities in the western part of the country call
Denver home. Consider the University of
Denver. Established in 1864, it is the oldest
independent university in the Rocky Mountain region. A number of other universities in
the metro area were established as far back as
the 19th century, including: Colorado State
University (1870); Colorado School of Mines
(1874); University of Colorado at Boulder
(1876); and Regis University (1877).
It speaks to Colorado’s appreciation for
higher education that approximately
157,000 students are currently enrolled in
four-year educational programs throughout
the region. Additionally, Denver is home
to 14 four-year public and private colleges
and universities. Five community colleges in
the area have more than 20 campuses. Prac-
tical training is addressed at the area’s more
than 300 vocational and technical schools,
which provide a large network of workforce
training and educational services to meet
the training and employment needs of both
students and area businesses.
There are also several smaller colleges
and technical and vocational schools with
specialized programs. The Auraria Higher
Education Center, located in the heart of
downtown Denver, for example, has the
largest concentration of students in metro
Denver. The 150-acre campus shared by the
University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan
State University of Denver, and the Community College of Denver serve more than
The contribution of Colorado’s universities
to the academic research community cannot
be overstated. In fiscal year 2013 Colorado’s universities received millions of dollars
in research grants. The University of Colorado at Boulder received $351.9 million; the
University of Colorado Denver received $19.1
million; The University of Colorado Anschutz
Medical Campus received an astonishing
$395.2 million; the University of Colorado at
Colorado Springs was awarded $7.8 million;
and The Colorado School of Mines received
a $10 million research grant award from the
Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of
Mine Safety and Health. For more information, see the Higher Education listings.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!
Denver prioritizes educational choice. No
matter what your educational preferences or
goals, Denver has a comprehensive offering of
outstanding public schools, specialized private
schools, alternative education opportunities and
a vast selection of higher education, technical
and vocational options. Ready to learn?
No matter what your educational preferences
or goals, Denver has a comprehensive offering
of outstanding schools.