Re-2 official looks for reasons scores drop
As students get closer to graduation, their math scores on the Colorado State Assessment Program near extinction.CSAPs include math, reading and writing tests for students in third through 10th grade and track student achievement.Although reading and writing scores fluctuate as students get older, they don’t decline as consistently as math scores do, said Sam Humphrey, director of curriculum and staff development for Re-2 at a board meeting Tuesday.In 2004, 56 percent of Re-2 fifth-graders scored proficient or advanced in math, three points lower than the state average.However, only 36 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or advanced, and 15 percent of 10th-graders scored proficient or advanced.At the state level, 69 percent of eighth-graders were proficient or advanced, and 28 percent of 10th-graders were proficient or advanced.Once students reach ninth grade, the math section of the CSAP gets significantly harder, but students don’t have trouble with computation – they have trouble with analytical math such as geometry, Humphrey said.”It’s the analytical and abstract stuff that makes it a difficult thought process,” Humphrey said. “Why don’t these kids know how to do this by 10th grade?”One problem is that districts don’t always know how to look at testing data and how to apply the results to their curriculum, Humphrey said.Another problem is knowing how to teach students the standards, Humphrey said.After looking at the data and compiling multiple charts, Humphrey looked at the curriculum from some of the most successful schools in the state to see if he could come up with a standard, successful teaching model.Unfortunately, none of the schools follow the same curriculum. Some schools rely heavily on textbooks while other schools rely on standards-based teaching, Humphrey said.Educators are also discussing academic apathy. Several high school students have told educators that they don’t care about the CSAP and don’t take them seriously, Humphrey said.This could contribute to lower scores, Humphrey said.No scientific or official studies have been done to test academic apathy.”They graduate, which suggests that there’s a discrepancy with the test scores,” Humphrey said.The school board will continue to look at data and look for ways to increase test scores, Humphrey said.Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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