Re-2 officials celebrate test score gains
August 17, 2013
RIFLE — Garfield School District Re-2 officials said they are generally pleased with the academic progress of students in Rifle, Silt and New Castle schools, based on the results of Colorado state assessment test results that were released this week.
"We are definitely seeing the right trends in our reading and writing data," said Re-2 Superintendent Susan Birdsey, noting that the move to a four-day school week last school year seemed to have no impact on test scores.
"The four-day school week created a sense of urgency around maximizing student contact time, and insuring that instruction was centered around the academic standards," Birdsey said in a news release.
According to results of the 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) tests, Re-2 students showed gains in fourth-, fifth-, seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade reading; fifth-, sixth-, eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade writing; and third-, fifth- and seventh-grade math.
“Our teachers and principals are focused on the right things at the right time, and they continue to build upon the systems we have put in place to support learning for all students.”
Overall, Re-2 students improved in reading proficiency, from a district average of 65 percent scoring proficient or advanced in reading last year to 68 percent this year.
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Writing scores also improved on average, from 48 percent proficient/advanced last year to 51 percent this year.
And, though math scores are still not what Birdsey said she would like to see, scores for math proficiency did improve slightly compared to last year, from 48 percent proficient/advanced on the 2012 tests to 49 percent this year.
"We are working very hard at improving our math performance," Birdsey said. "It is going to take the dedication and focus of our staff to make those improvements."
Among some of the notable gains at individual schools in the district were at Riverside Middle School in New Castle, which saw improvement in 11 of 14 testing categories, and at Coal Ridge High School, which saw improvement in five of seven categories based on testing at the ninth- and 10th-grade levels.
Cactus Valley Elementary in Silt had all of its fourth-grade math students partially proficient or above, and Kathryn Senor Elementary in New Castle increased fourth-grade reading scores by 19 points to 74 percent proficient or advanced, the highest mark ever for the school, Birdsey said.
Much of the success in literacy scores at the elementary level in Re-2 schools can be attributed to the implementation of a new uniform reading program, she said.
While TCAP scores reflect a snapshot in time for one group of students compared with a different set of students from the previous year, the state's growth model measures how students grow year over year compared to students who are at a similar level, Birdsey also explained.
"The students in Garfield Re-2 continue to grow," she said. "Our teachers and principals are focused on the right things at the right time, and they continue to build upon the systems we have put in place to support learning for all students."
The new school year for Garfield Re-2 students begins next week, on Monday, Aug. 19.
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