Measurement of a student

Local students wrap up CSAP testing this week


Some students scrunch up their noses upon mention of CSAP.

"We don't like CSAPs," said Lauren Schneegas, a Ridgeview Elementary School third-grader. "They're hard."


Others say the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests give them a chance to shine.

"It's easy because I'm good at reading, good at writing and good at math," Ridgeview third-grader Angelica Hester said.

Either way, it seems students, teachers and administrators are breathing a sigh of relief as testing comes to an end.

CSAP testing has been phased into Moffat County School District's schedule during the past decade. Previously, the district used the Terra Nova standardized testing program. Now, the Colorado Department of Education standardizes CSAP used throughout the state.

Third- through 10th-graders have been taking the tests during the past few weeks. The state gives schools a March 12 to April 13 window to complete testing.

All students complete three 60-minute sections in each reading, writing and math. Fifth-, eighth- and 10th-grade students also take science exams.

"I think (CSAPs) do give some type of indication of how students are doing on a broadly accepted curriculum," Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said. "This is an established curriculum in those particular areas. We use it as one indicator (of achievement)."

However, the tests take away up to 12 hours of instruction plus preparation time, Sheridan said.

"It's almost a necessary evil," he said. Although, "I think it has helped focus our energies in those core content areas."

Christie Palmer, a seventh-grade math teacher at Craig Middle School, said she is pleased that she does not have to "teach to the test," as some other teachers do.

"I'm lucky that this district has a wonderful math curriculum, and the books that we purchase teach what they need for CSAP," Palmer said.

She said teachers in the district have struggled with whether to test students before or after spring break, which falls in the middle of the state's testing window.

"After spring break has seemed to work better," Palmer said. "When we come back ... everybody's in a real positive mood."

Still, CSAP testing isn't her students' favorite time of year.

"A lot of comments I hear are the state tries to trick them with the questions they ask," Palmer said. "I guess even at seventh grade they don't understand why they have to do it."

But Palmer does.

"We have to have accountability somehow," she said.

But after the stress of CSAPs, East Elementary School Principal Diana Cook said her students deserve a break. Some students will wear pajamas to school and get pizza delivered Friday.

"It's a lot of brainpower being used," Cook said. "On Friday afternoon, they are just going to chill out. They are going to take that time and celebrate the hard work they've put in."

She said adults are recognized for their work, and students should be, too.

"We get paychecks. Kids don't get paychecks yet," Cook said. "They need to be rewarded for a good job."

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