Holy Family students above average on tests

The average Holy Family Catholic School student performed at or above grade-level proficiency on standardized tests taken last month at the school.

Third- through eighth-graders at the school took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which has reading, language, mathematics, science, social studies and “sources of information” sections, a category that tests reference material, map and diagram knowledge.

Unlike Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, which take scores for all students in one grade at a school and show what percentage scored proficient or better, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills takes composite scores for all students in one grade at a school and equates that score to a grade level where the average student would be proficient.

For example, Holy Family’s eighth-graders, on average, have the knowledge base of a 12th-grader, according to this year’s ITBS results.

That average is the result of 15 of the 32 Holy Family eighth-graders who took the test scoring at a college freshman level, four scoring at a middle school level and the rest performing as well as a high school student.

The school’s third- and fourth-graders, on average, performed at the beginning of the school year as well as a student in their grade would be expected to perform near the end of the school year.

The school’s fifth- and sixth-graders performed as well as a student a year ahead of them, and Holy Family seventh-graders, on average, demonstrated proficiency equal to a person at the end of his or her ninth-grade year.

Holy Family Principal Ann Ashwood said the school is happy as long as students show at least one year of growth between grade levels. She’s not surprised each grade, on average, met that goal.

“There is a culture of excellence,” Ashwood said. “It’s cool to get good grades here.”

Private schools are not required to administer standardized tests, including Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, which are given each spring in Colorado’s public schools.

Holy Family students take Iowa Test of Basic Skills exams each September, according to Assistant Principal Jake Aubert, so that teachers can receive the data early in the school year and use it to see where a student may need extra help.

“If there’s a red flag, we can do interventions early in the school year,” Aubert said.

Aubert said the school did not switch to CSAP tests in the 1990s so it could have a consistent trail of student progress each year and so that Holy Family could continue to compare its students to children across the United States, not just ones in Colorado.

More than 2 million students nationwide take Iowa Test of Basic Skills tests each year.


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