CSAP scores up, still struggling to meet state average

School District 51 high school students beat the state average for the second year in a row for percentage of students scoring proficient or better on Colorado Student Assessment Program reading, writing and science tests.

Scores released Tuesday show the district this year also beat the state average in seventh- and eighth-grade reading, and District 51 tied with the state for percent of students proficient or better in eighth-grade science.

The district implemented a new reading curriculum for all grades in fall 2007 and instituted a new math curriculum at most schools in fall 2009. Superintendent Steve Schultz said it likely is too early to see results from the math program, but he believes the reading change “is starting to kick in.” Schultz said he is not satisfied with this year’s scores, but he is pleased some are improving.

“The growth will continue to improve because of the changes we’ve made,” he said.

The district’s next instructional focus will be writing. District 51 students recorded some of their lowest average scores on the CSAP writing test this year. Schultz said he hopes to improve classroom writing instruction this year and provide teachers with more professional-development opportunities focused on writing. Science curriculum also will be discussed this year, he said.

CSAP tests, which are administered each spring to Colorado third- through 10th-graders, help the state measure growth. The Colorado Growth Model tracks district, school and student improvement from year to year and ranks each in comparison to the state average for growth.

Growth data are not available for third-graders because it was their first year taking the test, and annual science-test growth is not measured because the test is offered in three non-consecutive grades.

District 51 fourth- through 10th-graders as a whole placed in the 52nd percentile in the state for improvement in CSAP math, reading and writing scores compared to tests taken a grade earlier by the same students.

Local seventh- and 10th-graders showed the largest reading score improvement year-over-year, ranking in the 58th percentile among the state’s 178 school districts. Sixth-graders had the most improved math scores among grades four through 10 in the district, placing in the 61st percentile, and the biggest writing growth came in the ninth-grade, which ranked in the 54th percentile for improvement from eighth-grade scores.

Typically, CSAP results are delivered in August. Later in the year, the state releases progress reports based on those scores and other information.

This December, however, the state will switch to a new model called District Performance Frameworks and School Performance Frameworks. The reports will include information gleaned from CSAP results, ACT scores and graduation rates and discuss ways to close the achievement gap between different groups of students.

The information will be available on SchoolView.org.


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