Reading scores don’t tell whole story

by Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

Colorado third graders, for the most part, are learning to read.

Colorado Student Assessment Program grade 3 reading scores released Tuesday indicate that of 53,525 students tested statewide in 2003, 74 percent received proficient or advanced scores.

Regionally, the cumulative averages in Roaring Fork School District Re-1, Garfield School District Re-2 and District 16 all were lower than the statewide average.

However, total scores don’t tell the whole story. Out of seven local elementary schools tested, five scored as well as or better than the state’s proficient or advanced reading levels, and two scored lower.

The school scoring the lowest among the three districts was Carbondale Elementary School at 38 percent. The school with the highest score of third-grade reading proficiency was Sopris Elementary School at 80 percent.

The big picture

Of the 332 Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt third graders tested in Roaring Fork Re-1, 12 percent scored unsatisfactory, 21 percent scored partially proficient, and 66 percent received proficient or advanced scores on CSAP’s reading tests.

In Garfield School District Re-2, of 283 third graders, 9 percent scored unsatisfactory, 24 percent scored partially proficient, and 68 percent received proficient or advanced scores.

And at Garfield School District 16, of 78 third graders, 17 percent scored unsatisfactory, 33 percent scored partially proficient, and 49 percent received proficient or advanced scores.

Breaking it down

Fred Wall, Roaring Fork superintendent, released a report Tuesday that further broke down third graders’ scores in the district as compared with 2002. Wall’s report did not include Carbondale Community School’s test results.

Wall’s report detailed the percentage of students reading at the proficient and advanced levels at Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Sopris elementary schools. The report gave percentages for all third graders in each school, then further divided students into “Anglo” and “Latino” categories.

According to the Re-1 report, Glenwood Springs Elementary School is the only school that showed a rise in scores for proficient and advanced readers in each of the categories.

Overall, all Roaring Fork school district students scored 66 percent proficient or advanced in 2003, up from 61 percent in 2002.

The district’s Anglo third graders improved from an 85 percent in 2002 to 89 percent in 2003, and Latino children went from 21 percent in 2002 to 40 percent in 2003.

This is the seventh year school districts have given CSAP third-grade reading tests.

Statewide, the tests show a continued trend of steady progress.

For more information, go to the Colorado Department of Education’s Web site at

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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