Majority of fifth-grade students partially proficient in math

Results from the 1999 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) math test are in, but they could be better.

"We did not do as well as we hoped," said Moffat County School District Director of Curriculum and Staff Development Janet Bohart.

The CSAP test was administered in September and October and math scores are the first results school districts have received.

Statewide results show that 25,760, or 47 percent, of children scored proficient or advanced on the math test. There were 27,941 students, or 51 percent, who scored below proficient.

Most of Moffat County fifth-grade students, 117 (57 percent), scored partially proficient and 12 percent were unsatisfactory. Twenty-seven percent were proficient and 4 percent were advanced. Statewide, 38 percent of students scored partially proficient and 13 percent were unsatisfactory. Only 34 percent statewide scored proficient and 13 percent were advanced. Two percent did not report scores.

"I've taken the test and, no, it is not easy. It is not easy because we let ourselves get soft when we lost our focus on academic excellence," said Colorado State School Board Chairman Clair Orr. "Math, as many of us have learned the hard way, is not easy. These results, while far from what we need to achieve, are nonetheless better than many expected and better than the experience of several other states committed to standards-based testing."

"This is the first year, baseline test," Bohart said. "We will now figure out what we need to do. It will be important to see where we are in five years."

Some people believe higher scores could come from a different teaching curriculum, one that could focus on CSAP material. The CSAP test is more than just memorization, according to Bohart.

"Kids have to answer in their own words an explanation of the process, which requires less memorization," Bohart said. "Questions required not only calculation but also reasoning behind it.

"It is impossible to teach to the test."

After the district receives all results, it will analyze questions and compare them to what is happening in the classroom.

"It won't happen overnight but we will eventually see results," Bohart said.

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