Re-1 school district sees drop in test scores
August 17, 2013
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Students at public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt scored an average of 3 percent below last year on state reading and writing assessment tests, according to results of the 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) tests released this week.
Performance in math for students in the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 remained the same compared to the previous year, at 53 percent proficient or advanced, with gains in math proficiency at the fourth-, fifth- and seventh-grade levels.
Compared to the state average, though, Roaring Fork district students are scoring anywhere between 3 percent and 6 percent below their counterparts across Colorado in reading, writing and math, according to the latest round of results for tests administered to students in third through 10th grades this past school year.
The annual TCAP report was released by the Colorado Department of Education on Wednesday.
“We’re still doing pretty well compared with the rest of the state, but we would like to do better, and we’re not where we want to be.”
Re-1 assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for the district
"We're still doing pretty well compared with the rest of the state, but we would like to do better, and we're not where we want to be," said Rob Stein, the new Re-1 assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for the district.
"We are working on long-term strategies to get there, and we do expect to see upticks as those things start to engage," he said.
Re-1 schools still compare favorably with state averages in the three primary subject areas, which is a challenge given the district's high percentage of second-language students.
Approximately 46 percent of the students in the district are classified as English Language Learners, compared to an average of 14.4 percent for school districts across the state, according to statistics provided by Re-1 officials.
Statewide, an average of 69 percent of students taking the tests scored proficient or advanced on the TCAP reading tests, according to the latest test results.
Broken down by grade, reading scores for public school students across the state ranged from 67 percent proficient/advanced at the eighth-grade level, to 73 percent proficient/advanced at the third- and sixth-grade levels.
In Re-1 schools, 66 percent of students, on average, scored proficient/advanced on the state reading tests this year. That's down from 69 percent last year.
Reading scores across the district ranged from a low of 61 percent proficient/advanced for ninth-grade level standards to 73 percent at the third-grade level, same as the state average.
Broken further down by school and grade level, Re-1 saw a wide range in scores for reading, from 41 percent proficient/advanced for last year's seventh-grade class at Carbondale Middle School to 80 percent proficient/advanced for third-graders at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs.
For writing, Re-1 students across the eight grade levels that are tested scored 49 percent proficient/advanced, down from last year's average of 52 percent. The state average for writing proficiency was 55 percent.
In math, 53 percent of Re-1 students across the board scored proficient/advanced, compared to the state average of 56 percent. While scores for some grade levels improved, though, others dropped compared to last year.
"On one hand, we don't want to look at these slight ups and downs and read too much into it," Stein said. "At the same time, we would prefer to see all of our scores going up."
Of more concern is that individual student growth trends for Re-1 have fallen off over the past couple of years.
Measuring individual groups of students' scoring patterns year over year in reading, writing and math, Re-1 students had been showing better growth compared to the state average from 2010 to 2012.
In 2011, Re-1 students scored in the 60th percentile for reading growth (meaning they showed more growth year over year than 60 percent of students in the state). That same year, local students were in the 61st percentile for reading and the 62nd percentile for math.
This year, though, Re-1's students were at 49th percentile for growth in reading, the 48th percentile for writing, and the 51st percentile for math.
"We are still hovering around the state's median growth, which is good," Stein said. "But it's always better news if we're performing better against the state, which is where we had been. Our goal is to get back there."
One way to do that is to look at the individual schools in the district and grade levels in those schools that are showing better proficiency and growth, and replicating what they're doing across the district, he said.
Statewide TCAP results and growth data, including information for individual districts and schools, can be found at http://www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/coassess-dataandresults.