Roaring Fork Re-1 School District students whose native language is English are performing as well, if not better, than their counterparts in other school districts locally and in some of the top-performing districts around the state.
That's according to a comparison of Colorado student test results looking at 16 school districts across the state, including Roaring Fork schools.
The report, presented by Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall at a recent school board meeting, breaks out 2011 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test results for Anglo students, grades 3 through 10, in reading, writing and math.
"We wanted to get a good idea of how our Anglo students are holding up, and how we compare to some of these other districts," Haptonstall said. "A few are still doing better with their native English speakers than we are, but not too many."
The Roaring Fork district includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt. As of last school year, about 52 percent of the district's students were Latino, while 48 percent were Anglo.
Many of the district's Latino students are from recent new immigrant families and are still learning English. It's a demographic that's reflected in the overall lower student test scores in Re-1 and other school districts with similar student populations, when compared to other districts.
Haptonstall said a common concern or perception is that, as a result, the expectations for native Anglo students are somehow watered down, or that they aren't exposed to the same academic rigor.
Not true, according to the percentage of Anglo students scoring proficient or advanced in the comparative report. In addition to Roaring Fork Re-1, the report included test scores for the Cherry Creek, Boulder Valley, Douglas County, JeffCo, Academy, Lewis Palmer, Mesa 51, Durango, Montrose, Aspen, Meeker, Summit, Steamboat Springs, Rifle (Garfield Re-2) and Eagle school districts.
Across the board, Anglo students in Roaring Fork schools are scoring between 85 and 91 percent proficient or advanced in reading for the eight grade levels taking the CSAPs.
The highest single grade-level percentage in reading scores among the districts included in the report was 94 percent proficient/advanced. The lowest was 64 percent.
At certain grades levels, Anglo students in Roaring Fork schools are outperforming their counterparts in districts that are perennially among the top performers in the state, including the Aspen, Cherry Creek and Lewis Palmer (Monument) school districts.
"In doing the comparison, we picked some of the districts that are well known in the state for their high student achievement," Haptonstall said. "We also looked at some of our neighboring districts to see how we stack up."
Compared to Aspen schools, a larger percentage of Roaring Fork's Anglo students in third, fourth, eighth and ninth grades scored proficient or advanced on CSAP reading tests last school year.
Aspen, in breaking out the scores for its Anglo students, still had an edge in testing for fifth, sixth, seventh and 10th grades.
Using the same comparative break-out for math scores, Aspen fared better in its test results for five out of the eight grade levels taking the CSAP tests. Roaring Fork students outscored their Aspen counterparts in third and 10th grades, and had the same proficiency rate, 92 percent, for fourth grade.
The only neighboring school district to consistently outperform Roaring Fork schools in most grade levels for reading, writing and math was the Eagle County Re-50 School District.
Roaring Fork Anglo students consistently outperformed their counterparts in the Garfield Re-2, Meeker, Montrose and Durango school districts, according to the report.
"This gives us some comparisons so we can look at where we're on track and where we still need to improve," Haptonstall said. "It gives us some data to go and talk to some of these other districts to see what they're doing.
"But I think it does show we're pretty well in line with the other districts in the state," she said.
The report is available on the Roaring Fork School District website (www.rfsd.k12.co.us). The breakdown of test results for Anglo and Latino students in school districts across the state are available on the Colorado Department of Education website (www.cde.state.co.us).