CES earns ‘special commendation’ for 10 percent gain
CARBONDALE – The latest round of Colorado Student Assessment Program test scores released by the state this week indicate some notable improvements in Carbondale schools compared to last year.But students tested this past school year at Carbondale Elementary, Carbondale Middle and Roaring Fork High schools continue to lag behind the Re-1 School District and state averages for reading, writing, math and science proficiency, according to a report issued by the Colorado Department of Education Tuesday.The good news is that all three of Carbondale’s traditional public schools earned “special commendations” for showing a 10 or more percentage point increase in students scoring proficient or advanced in certain testing categories, including:CES – third- and fourth-grade reading and writing;CMS – sixth-grade reading, writing and math, seventh-grade writing, and eighth-grade math; and,RFHS – ninth-grade math.”CES and CMS, in particular, did some pretty amazing things,” Re-1 assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall said. “Considering we didn’t institute some of the administrative changes at CES until the first of December (2004), we still saw some remarkable improvement. We’re excited to see what happens with a few more months of work.”CES had been on the state’s “probationary status” list due to several years of declining test scores, but was removed this spring due to a technicality. Because CES and Crystal River Elementary School will become one school with plans to expand the CRES building to house grades pre-K through fourth, it will be considered a “new school” in the state’s eyes starting this coming school year.Officials had previously said that if CES had one more year of bad test scores, the district would need to come up with a restructuring plan.The school’s general performance, which for several consecutive years has consistently lagged about 10 to 20 percentage points behind the district and state averages for student proficiency, is still a serious concern.If test scores don’t continue to improve, CES and any other schools that don’t stack up could be put on probation.According to a summary provided by Haptonstall, CES’ overall third-grade reading score went from 35 percent proficient or advanced in 2004 to 49 percent proficient or advanced this year, while the fourth grade went from 23 percent last year to 38 percent this year.By comparison, 69 percent of third-graders districtwide scored proficient, while the statewide average is 71 percent. In the writing tests, CES third-graders’ scores doubled, from 16 percent to 32 percent. The district average for third-grade writing proficiency is 54 percent, and statewide it’s 56 percent.There continues to be a disparity among Anglo and Latino students, with Anglo students performing far better on the tests than their Latino counterparts. But Latino scores improved markedly, increasing from 15 percent to 24 percent in third-grade reading proficiency and from 2 percent to 8 percent proficient on third-grade writing tests.In math scores, which this year were given for the first time to third-graders, the overall CES third-grade score was 47 percent proficient or better, which translated to 66 percent for Anglo students and 36 percent for Latinos.Among fourth-graders, also testing in math for the first time, CES scored 42 percent proficient/advanced (71 percent for Anglos and 21 percent for Latinos).In the fifth grade, math scores dropped this year, from a schoolwide 45 percent in 2004 to a score of 34 percent this year, reflecting declines in both Anglo and Latino scores. Similar declines were recorded for other Re-1 schools as well.”All across the district, fifth-grade scores were down a bit,” Haptonstall said. “That tells us we have a particular problem at that grade level, and not just at a particular school. So that’s something we’re looking at.” At Carbondale’s other two traditional public schools, RFHS and CMS, results were mixed. Roaring Fork, for example, saw a decline this year in its overall scores for reading, writing and math in the 10th grade, but ninth-graders pushed up their scores slightly in each category.Scores were available only for 2005 for the Carbondale Community School, a charter school, where scores ranged from 31 percent proficient/advanced in fourth-grade reading and writing, to 92 percent in third-grade math.Basalt scoresAt Basalt Elementary, third-grade scores stayed the same in reading (77 percent), but rose in writing (from 54 to 63). For its first year in math testing, the third grade scored an overall of 66 percent proficient or better. Basalt fourth-graders bettered their score from 52 percent to 65 percent overall in reading, declined from 48 to 44 percent in writing, and scored 51 percent overall in math.In the Basalt Middle School, fifth-graders showed slight declines in reading and writing skills and dropped from 61 percent proficient in math to 52 percent. Sixth-graders improved in reading, lost a little ground at writing, and edged upward a bit in their math skills, while seventh-graders got a little better at reading and writing but dropped from 56 percent to 39 percent in math. Eighth-graders also improved their reading and writing skills but dropped slightly in math.At Basalt High, ninth-graders dropped from 80 percent proficient in reading to 71 percent; from 67 to 53 percent in writing, and from 45 to 39 percent in math.Aspen Times reporter John Colson contributed to this story.
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