Re-1 CSAP scores bring ‘smiles to a lot of faces’ |

Re-1 CSAP scores bring ‘smiles to a lot of faces’

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Student assessment test scores released Wednesday showed a strong trend of higher scores in the Roaring Fork School District, with increases reported in 22 of the 27 test categories.

Students in the Garfield Re-2 District achieved higher scores in 15 categories. Test scores in Garfield District 16 improved in 10 categories and fell in 17.

“The roll-out of the 2011 scores brought smiles to a lot of faces this year,” said Roaring Fork Superintendent Judy Haptonstall in a prepared statement. “With very few exceptions, every grade level showed the highest scores ever achieved in reading, writing, math and science.”

“The students in Garfield Re-2 continue to grow,” said Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Susan Birdsey in a press release. “Our teachers and principals are focused on the right things at the right time. They continue to build upon the systems we have put in place to support learning for all students. We are pleased to see the district moving in the right direction but there is work yet to be done,” Birdsey added.

The statewide tests, administered under the Colorado Student Assessment Program, tested 485,000 students across Colorado in grades three through 10 for math, reading and writing. In addition, students in grades five, eight and 10 were tested on science.

With each student in those grades taking three or four tests, the program tallied the results of more than 1.6 million tests. Results released Wednesday provided test scores from 2010 and new scores from 2011 by school and by school district.

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said, “This year’s overall CSAP results indicate student achievement success in several key areas, but also highlight the pressing need to continue strengthening the education pipeline so that every student is ultimately prepared for college or a career.”

This was the 15th year for Colorado students to test how well they are learning compared to the state’s educational standards.

The testing ranks students at four levels: unsatisfactory, partially proficient, proficient or advanced. The top two rankings, proficient and advanced, are commonly combined to provide an indication of acceptable student achievement.

In the Roaring Fork School District, which serves Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, student scores climbed in all grades for math and science from 2010 to 2011.

However, overall proficiency in math declined for students as students enter middle and high school – a trend seen in 2010 and 2011 and a trend mirrored in most districts across the state. For example, 73 percent of this year’s Roaring Fork third graders are proficient in math, while the rate falls to 46 percent for seventh graders and to 37 percent for high school sophomores.

In science, proficiency increases with age, rising from 38 percent for fifth graders to 47 percent for sophomores in the Roaring Fork district.

Compared to 2010, the 2011 scores fell for reading in grades four, six and seven, and in writing for grades eight and 10, but just by 1 to 3 percent. These were the only areas where Roaring Fork students, aggregated together, scored lower in 2011 than in 2010.

Meanwhile, some other grades showed marked increases in reading and writing from 2010 to 2011, setting a higher bar for next year’s tests. For example, fifth grade writing scores jumped from 43 percent proficient in 2010 to 57 percent proficient in 2011.

“It’s evident that principals and teachers kept their focus on providing students the best education possible, despite economic distractions,” Haptonstall said, referring to drastic budget cutting in reaction to cuts in state education funding. Teachers, students and parents “deserve all the credit for such impressive increases in student achievement.”

Students in the Garfield Re-2 District, which serves New Castle, Silt and Rifle, made strong gains in writing from 2010 to 2011, boosting rates of proficiency by 3 to 11 percentage points. The highest writing scores and the highest rates of improved writing scores over 2010 came among third through seventh grade students.

Proficiency rates fell for about half of the tested grade levels for reading, science and math. But for most grades, the drops were within 1 to 3 percent.

The district’s most serious declines in proficiency came in eighth grade math and science.

Overall math and science proficiency fell further among high school sophomores, with scores already low, falling from 22 percent proficiency in math to 20 percent, and from 36 percent proficiency in science to 33 percent.

However, Garfield Re-2 is closing achievement gaps in reading and writing for boys and for students from low-income households.

Reading scores for boys are up 4 percent over the past three years. Scores for students from low-income households are increasing by 6 percent in reading and 12 percent in writing.

“We know we are making a difference,” Birdsey said. “We are closing achievement gaps in many areas. Our teachers and staff are focused upon providing instruction founded on Colorado state standards, steeped in best practices, to students at their level.”

Results were less encouraging for Garfield District 16, which serves Parachute and Battlement Mesa.

Proficiency rates increased in three grade levels for math, two grade levels for reading and five grade levels for writing. But they fell in five grade levels for math, all three grade levels tested for science, six grade levels for reading and three grade levels for writing.

The district’s strongest scores came in reading, with half to two-thirds of the district’s students scoring at proficient or advanced at all grade levels tested.

And the county’s highest subject area score was achieved by Grand Valley High School freshmen, who scored 79 percent proficient or advanced in reading.

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