Schools cheer CSAP scores
GSPI News Editor
Local school districts on Wednesday hailed improvements in test scores, while conceding they have a lot more improving to do.
The state released results of more than 20 tests from the Colorado Student Assessment Program Wednesday. (See chart on page 3.)
Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials noted that individual schools showed gains of 15 percentage points or more in 20 different testing areas as measured for Anglo students, Latinos, or both.
In Garfield School District Re-2, for the first time, half of its grade levels are above the state average in reading and science, when comparing scores by individual grades in each school, said assistant superintendent Ava Lanes. In another first, more than half of its grade levels are above the state average in writing.
Officials with both districts said the results show a continuing need to bring up math scores, and they will be focusing this year on ways to do that.
Grand Valley School District 16 in Parachute scored above the state average for proficiency in only one subject, fifth-grade math, doing that for the second straight year.
Rhonda Dillon, the district’s curriculum coordinator, said while scores aren’t as high as district officials would like, they are excited that improvements were shown over the previous year in 17 testing categories.
“We’re starting to see some things paying off,” she said.
In Re-1, Carbondale Middle School showed at least 15 percent improvement in six testing areas. The school has many students who speak little or no English, and has had some deficient CSAP results over the years. When the school’s principal, Cliff Colia, appeared in danger of not having his contract renewed earlier this year, supporters rallied and the district announced he would remain on the job.
Glenwood Elementary and Basalt High showed at least 15 percent improvement in four testing areas, Roaring Fork and Glenwood High did so in two, and Carbondale Elementary in one.
Carbondale Elementary School continues to show some of the poorest scores districtwide in several areas. Only 21 percent of its students showed proficiency in third-grade writing and fifth-grade math, and only 27 percent were proficient in fifth-grade writing. The percentage of proficient students decreased in all of those areas from the preceding year.
The school’s results are heavily impacted by its Latino population. Anglo students at CES showed 38 percent proficiency in third-grade writing, 47 percent proficiency in fifth-grade math and 59 percent proficiency in fifth-grade writing.
Re-1 assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall said CES is the district’s “most at risk” school. Starting last year, its poor test results forced it to offer low-performing students the option of being bused to other schools. No parents took the district up on the offer last year.
The district has diverted more financial resources to the school. Also, after longtime CES principal Bill Alley resigned to take a principal’s job in Wyoming, the district hired Anna DeLay, who has experience in Texas with schools needing improvement in test scores.
Although the district faces a challenge due to its high Latino population, it also is achieving some successes there. For example, Carbondale Elementary went from 8 percent proficiency by Latinos in fourth-grade reading in 2002 to 28 percent this year.
Specific Latino student categories accounted for 10 of the 20 testing areas in which Re-1 schools showed at least a 15 percent increase in proficiency. Haptonstall said starting last year, the district began giving some Latino students 180 minutes of English lessons a day, up from only 45 minutes previously.
Among other successes, Re-1 continues to score above the state average in every middle and high school writing level.
Some high achievers
Re-2 reports improvements in reading, writing and science. Elementary schools in Rifle, Silt and News Castle made improvements in third-grade writing. In reading, most grade levels made improvements as they approached the state average.
Two Re-2 schools, Roy Moore and Kathryn Senor elementary schools, are on their way to becoming the district’s first high-achieving schools, outpacing the state average at several grade levels, the district reports.
Late this year, the state is scheduled to release report cards identifying high-achieving schools and those that are performing more poorly.
In one astounding improvement, Roy Moore increased sixth-grade math proficiency from 48 percent in 2002 to 89 percent this year.
Although Re-1 and Re-2 both cited a need to further boost their math scores, Re-1 officials also noted the high level of difficulty of some of the math tests. For example, only 27 percent of students statewide were proficient in 10th-grade math. Re-1 students scored 24 percent proficiency, Re-2 students 17 percent, and Grand Valley 23 percent.
At Grand Valley, Dillon finds good news even where it isn’t immediately apparent. For instance, the district’s fifth-grade reading scores fell 2 percent from last year, to 54 percent, compared to 66 percent statewide proficiency. However, those same fifth-graders scored only 42 percent reading proficiency last year, when in fourth grade.
“The same group of kids is showing improvement,” she said.
She finds other such trends elsewhere in the district, and credits programs such as Read to Achieve and a school reform grant being used at Bea Underwood Elementary School.
Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516
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