By the numbers
Moffat County High School students who earned elective credit for
scoring proficient or advanced on 2008 Colorado Student Assessment Program
• Math: 42
• Reading and writing: 56
• Science: Not tested
• Math: 27
• Reading and writing: 60
• Science: 53
Total credits earned: 118.5
Students earning credit
in multiple subjects: 75
Total students who earned credit: 139
- Source: Moffat County School District
It may be too early to tell, but numbers from a first-year Moffat County High School program giving students class credit for performing well on a state test could be changing students' attitudes about the annual assessment.
Almost 140 students earned elective credit by scoring proficient or advanced on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests this spring in math, reading, writing and, in some cases, science, according to district records.
Seventy-five of those students earned credit in multiple subjects. Together, students earned a total of 118.5 elective credits.
The latter figure got a reaction out of high school administrators.
"What we were caught off guard with was how much credit this would accrue," said Thom Schnellinger, MCHS principal. "It's not a bad thing; it just surprised us."
He presented the results of the program at the Moffat County School Board's monthly meeting Nov. 20.
"This is sort of a first for making CSAP mean something" to students, he said.
The program gives half of an elective credit to high school freshmen who perform at or above state proficiency levels on CSAP math, reading and writing tests. In addition to these subjects, 10th-grade students can earn credit from the science CSAP test, which is not administered to freshmen.
CSAP tests, which measure if students are performing to state academic standards, are not given to high school juniors or seniors.
In March, the school board voted 5-to-2 in favor of giving elective credit for students' proficient or advanced CSAP scores under two conditions: that elective credits not replace required courses and that the school board review the program a year later.
Based on his observations, Schnellinger thinks the program is proving itself useful for students and teachers. He noticed that students from across the academic spectrum earned credit for their CSAP performance.
"Some students (who) are proficient and advanced that don't show it in the classroom show it on the CSAP," he said.
Allowing students to earn credit through the CSAP test also enables them to take more elective courses in subjects they're interested in, including dual-enrollment classes offered through Colorado Northwestern Community College.
Roger Spears, MCHS science teacher, also has faith in the program.
"I think it's a great idea," he said, "because I think it's another motivating factor to get the students involved with taking the test seriously."
Still, he believes the program could have been more effective if students had heard about it farther in advance.
The school board approved the program shortly before the high school began its CSAP testing program.
"If they have the opportunity this year to really promote it a little bit more in advance, I think that kids will take it : more seriously and work a little harder and hopefully get to that proficient or advanced level."