Clifton students make big gains in CSAP scores

A turnaround plan at Clifton Elementary is helping boost test scores at the school.

The first Colorado Student Assessment Program data to be released for 2011, third-grade reading scores, revealed 74 percent of third-graders at Clifton Elementary are reading at or above grade level. That’s an increase of 27 percentage points compared to the previous year’s third-grade class, four percentage points above the district average and one percentage point above the state average.

The state placed the school on a turnaround plan this year because it did not make adequate yearly progress in CSAP scores for two consecutive years. The state supplied a grant to fund the plan, which provided interventions for all students, offered monetary incentives for staff to stay at the school, and brought consultants to the school to observe and guide teachers, among other steps.

The reading scores show the plan paid off in at least one segment, School District 51 Executive Director of Elementary Schools Andy Laase said. He’s containing his excitement about other results until they are released this summer, but Laase said an online assessment program offered at the school shows Clifton students should have higher scores in reading, writing and math this year.

“It’s all paying off,” he said.

Although Clifton had the highest growth, it did not have the highest percentage of proficient or advanced third-grade readers. That honor went to Orchard Avenue Elementary. Ninety-two percent of third-graders at the Blue Ribbon school scored proficient or better in reading, followed by 91 percent at New Emerson and 84 percent at district charter school Independence Academy.

Nisley Elementary third-graders had the smallest percentage of proficient or advanced readers, 47 percent. Rocky Mountain Elementary had 53 percent and Chipeta had 55 percent of third-graders reading at grade level or better this year.

Laase said percentages of third-graders reading at proficient or advanced levels rose in numerous subgroups this year compared with last year. Among them are:

Homeless students, up 10 percentage points.

English language learners, up 13 percentage points.

Special-education students, up seven percentage points.

Low-income students, up two percentage points.

Minority students, up two percentage points.

Third-grade reading scores are released first because they are used to help determine whether a third-grader needs to be placed on a literacy plan before the end of the school year. The remaining CSAP data in other subjects and grades will be released in late July or early August.


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