Schools perform 'average' on state exams

At a glance

2007-08 Moffat County school accountability report results

Moffat County High School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Typical

Craig Middle School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Low

Craig Intermediate School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Typical

East Elementary School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Typical

Ridgeview Elementary School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Low

Maybell Elementary School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: No rating

Sunset Elementary School

• Academic performance: Average

• Students' academic growth: Typical

(Note: academic performance measured on state assessments.)

Source: Colorado Department

of Education

Data released by the Colorado Department of Education Tuesday shows that, like last year, all Moffat County School District schools are performing average on state standardized tests.

But School Accountability Reports also reveal students' academic growth at some schools has changed.

Comparing schools' 2007 and 2008 academic growth is difficult because the Education Department changed its rating system this year.

The department now assigns low, typical and high ratings to schools based on a comparison of students' performance with other Colorado schools. Previous categories were significant improvement, improvement, stable, decline and significant decline.

A combination of student performance and rating changes worked in favor of some schools and against others.

Moffat County High School fell in the former category. It received a typical student growth rating in 2008, compared to declining rating last year.

Principal Thom Schnellinger credited the improvement to targeting specific content areas.

"We've spent a lot of time in : reading and math specifically," he said, adding that the high school and the school district also are looking to improve writing scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program.

Student academic growth is calculated using students' test scores from the past two years. The change fits with the education department's recent emphasis on tracking individual student growth throughout multiple years.

Most steady, one down

Craig Intermediate School and Sunset and East elementary schools showed average scores and typical growth.

Maybell Elementary School also earned an average standardized test score rating. Its student academic growth was unreportable because of an enrollment of only 15 students last year, according to CDE records.

Three-year comparisons of school-wide scores in reading, writing and math also were added to the accountability reports this year. Although these scores don't reflect individual student growth, they do indicate areas of some schools' strengths and weaknesses.

At Craig Middle School, student growth rating declined from stable to low.

"Low" academic growth means that as a whole, individual students' performance on CSAP is lower in comparison to other state schools, according to the CDE.

"We continue to evaluate why we have that (score)," Principal Bill Toovey said. "Certainly, this is something we're thrilled to have, in terms of an indicator."

School administrators will begin using 2008 CSAP results as a tool to identify weak spots in individual students' learning, he added.

All-school reading scores held steady from last year, with 65 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced. Writing and math scores dropped this year by 5 and 2 points, respectively.

Ridgeview Elementary students' academic growth score also changed, this time from "significant decline" to "low."

However, a look at the school's CSAP scores show it improved in one content area while declining in two others. Seventy-two percent of the school's third- and fourth-grade students scored proficient or advanced on CSAP reading test, up two points from 2007.

The test is not given to first- or second-graders.

Still, school-wide math scores declined from 71 percent in 2007 to 64 percent in 2008. Writing scores also fell, from 49 percent proficient and advanced in 2007 to 41 percent in 2008.

However, reading and math scores still are above state averages, Principal Julie Baker said.

"We're strong, and we held from last year," she added. "Writing, however, was not the same story."

To address the issue, Ridgeview has implemented weekly assessments to gauge students' progress on reading and writing skills. Teachers then adjust their instruction to bolster students' skills in areas where they're falling behind.

Next steps

Information released in the reports Tuesday wasn't new to school district administrators.

"There were no surprises on our school accountability reports," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said, adding that the school district first saw CSAP result data in August.

Administrators began formulating school improvement plans shortly thereafter. Teaching strategies for English-language learners is on the list for district improvement, as is improving instruction for students with various learning needs.

Schools also are focusing on writing skills, which 2007 CSAP results show are lagging district-wide.

Incidentally, the district's literacy curriculum is up for review under the district's review rotation.

"It actually was very timely," Bergmann said. "Not always does our curriculum review cycle fit our greatest area of identified need."

Comments

freeman 5 years, 4 months ago

WHEN CHILDREN ARE OF CONCERN,,MAINLY IN THE YOUNG STAGE OF LIFE ,I AS A PARENT ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT, A CHILD IS A 24HR,7DAYS A WEEK PRIORITY SPECIFICALLY WHEN IT COMES TO LEARNING AND UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING IN SCHOOL.YOU SHOULD BE THERE FOR THEM NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF DAY IT IS.YOU AS A PARENT HAVE TO ALWAYS BE INVOLVED WITH YOUR CHILD LOOKING OVER THERE SHOULDER . AT SCHOOL AND/OR HOME.I BELIEVE THE SCHOOL DOES THERE PART,,NOW ITS TIME THE PARENT DOES THE SAME,,,,,GET INVOLVED

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Taxpayer 5 years, 4 months ago

Patrick, Very good - I wish more parents were taking that approach. When I went to school, we had special classes during the day to help kids by giving more attention to what they needed to learn the basics. I could read and write prior to kindergarten because my parents loved to read so in my family reading was a priority. Anything less than an A was not meeting family standards.

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playfair08 5 years, 4 months ago

Average is just about everything when it comes to the schools in Moffat County, not just on test scores

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Patrick Germond 5 years, 4 months ago

There one thing that go into that average that is not fare. Students that can't speak or read or write Enlgish are figured in too. I'm not saying that's good or bad, it is what it is. I help out in the math area in Mrs. Conroy's 2nd grade class and I've come up with some thoughts on this subject. First, everyone, including the kids, try very hard. There is nothing I can come up with that should be done different. I'm very impressed with her. My child came home at the first of the year with a note saying she was failing bad in math and needed an intervention. I thought, "What in the heck." So I started going in and helping out. Half the class got it, half the class did not. There was those in the 90% and those in the 50%. Nothing really in the middle. My daughter is now in the 90%.

This is what I learned. Instead of crying about how our children need to be able to compete with other counties, we parents need to compete with other countries. If we don't help our kids out about 5 nights out of the week with math they wont be able to keep up with other kids. Further more, the teacher can't stay on hold because some wont by their kid a $4 math book at Walmart and tell them to do three pages a night. When 90% have a passing grade she moves on. If we want your kids to get A's, that may take some effort on our part. My kid does the book while I doing something else. The teacher has and does give her the knowlege, what she needed all along was more practice. Half the parents are doing this. What half do we want our kids to be in? My kid was failing in 2-3 major areas. Now she not. I love our school system. It's working great for me and my family. It was me all along that was dropping the ball, not the teacher, not the school, not my kid. That's what I learned in the second grade this year.

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