CSAP results a mixed bag for Re-1 | PostIndependent.com

CSAP results a mixed bag for Re-1

The Colorado Department of Education Wednesday released the state’s public school Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) scores, which show that, in many areas, Roaring Fork School District Re-1 schools are performing below state average. Some schools, like Sopris Elementary School, showed precipitous declines in reading proficiency since 2005, particularly among Latinos. Reading proficiency – a ranking of students who tested as “proficient” or “advanced” – among fourth-grade Latinos, for example, declined by 49 percentage points in one year, whereas Anglo reading proficiency increased 1 percent. But RFSD officials say data showing overall CSAP performance of each school doesn’t paint an accurate picture of students’ academic performance, because hidden within the data are significant gains among some groups of students. The state’s data doesn’t account for students, especially non-English speakers, who had just arrived from other areas or a different country prior to taking the CSAP, said RFSD Superintendent Judy Haptonstall. But the federal government requires all students to take the CSAP, regardless if they haven’t had time to learn English. “I would hate to have my skills as a reader judged if I took a test in a language I cannot speak or read,” Haptonstall said. Another reason CSAP results are misleading, she said, is that the state gauges a school’s performance by comparing test scores of the same grade from year to year, looking at a different set of fourth-graders, for example, each year rather than comparing the scores of the same students as they progress from fourth-grade to the fifth. “What may appear to be no change or a decline when just looking at scores from year to year is actually an improvement, and sometimes, just the opposite is the case,” Haptonstall said. The way the state gauges schools’ performance with Wednesday’s CSAP results is not the measuring stick by which the federal government gauges a school’s performance under the No Child Left Behind Act to determine Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. Academic proficiency for AYP is measured by the number students whose test scores categorize them as “partially proficient,” “proficient” and “advanced.” But the state has a higher standard, measuring proficiency progress only by the number of students who test “proficient” and “advanced.” Overall, many RFSD schools tested at or below state average, with some exceptions: Though overall reading proficiency among 10th-graders throughout the district – 71 percent – declined 4 percent from 2005, the district remains above the state average of 68 percent. Ninth-grade writing proficiency declined 2 percent from 55 percent to 53 percent since 2005, and is one point above state average – 52 percent. There were great improvements in some areas. Tenth-grade math proficiency at Roaring Fork High School improved by 13 percent since 2005. But within that improvement is a more complex picture: In 2005, only 18 percent of Anglo 10th-graders and zero percent of Latino 10th-graders were proficient in math. In 2006, 43 percent of Anglos and 3 percent of Latinos tested proficient in math. Their counterparts at Glenwood Springs High School showed significant declines in math proficiency, dropping by 14 percent overall. Eleven percent of the school’s Latino 10th-graders were proficient in math in 2005, but only 3 percent were proficient in 2006. Anglos’ math proficiency at GSHS dropped from 51 percent in 2005 to 35 percent in 2006. Other notable overall gains and losses from 2005 to 2006: Glenwood Springs Middle School’s seventh-grade reading proficiency dropped 18 percent; Carbondale Middle School’s sixth-grade reading proficiency dropped 17 percent; and Glenwood Springs Elementary’s fourth-grade reading proficiency increased by 26 percent. Sopris Elementary saw the most significant declines, but had some things to celebrate, too. The school’s fourth-grade Latinos’ reading proficiency plummeted nearly 50 percent, but its fifth-grade Latinos increased their proficiency by five percent. Third-grade reading scores dropped by 21 percent. Haptonstall said she didn’t know why Sopris third- and fourth-graders’ scores declined so significantly in some areas, but she said district officials will study the data to find the cause. Sopris received the highest CSAP scores in the district in third- and fifth-grade math for Latino students, in fifth-grade reading for both Anglo and Latino students, and in fifth-grade for both Anglo and Latino students, according to Haptonstall. In the Basalt schools, the results also showed some areas where local students are performing below state standards, such as among third-grade readers, where the state level is at 52 percent but the Basalt schools are at 43 percent. Broken out to show the Anglo versus Latino scores, in this particular category Anglos scored 62 percent, well above the state average, but Latinos came in at 21 percent.In some areas, though, Basalt’s Latino and Anglo students both saw their scores improve markedly. In fifth-grade reading, Anglo scores rose from last year’s 79 percent proficient to 89 percent, while Latino scores jumped from 25 percent to 41 percent, though the average of 64 percent was still below the state average of 70 percent.Similar improvements were shown in fifth-grade writing and math tests, both areas in which the Basalt scores came in higher than the statewide average.In some categories, the results showed Latino gains in proficiency while Anglo students lost ground. Among seventh-grade reading results, for instance, The average score dropped from 76 percent in 2005 to 66 percent in 2006, pulled down by an Anglo decrease from 95 percent to 82 percent while Latino scores rose from 38 percent to 45 percent.The Basalt average in seventh-grade reading, however, was above the state average of 64 percent, as it was in eighth-grade reading (74 percent compared to the state’s 66 percent), seventh-grade writing (61 percent to the state’s 56 percent), eighth-grade reading (74 percent to the state’s 66 percent) and eighth-grade math (55 percent to the state’s 45 percent), to name a few.Basalt outdid or equaled state averages in a number of grade levels in all subject areas.John Colson of The Aspen Times contributed to this story

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