The Colorado Department of Education announced 2009 Colorado Student Assessment Program scores Friday. Moffat County showed a growth level slightly less than that of the rest of the state and proficiency varying from 20 percent to more than 60 percent, depending on the subject.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

The Colorado Department of Education announced 2009 Colorado Student Assessment Program scores Friday. Moffat County showed a growth level slightly less than that of the rest of the state and proficiency varying from 20 percent to more than 60 percent, depending on the subject.

CSAP emphasis on growth, not achievement

Scores show some improvement from last year

CSAP growth

Moffat County School District grades four to 10 CSAP growth percentiles:

(Median growth percentile for Colorado is 50).

Reading: 43

Writing: 46

Math: 43

For more information about the Colorado Growth Model, and an integrative breakdown of scores by school, visit http://schoolview...>

Moffat County School District has celebrating and improving to do in response to the release of the Colorado Student Assessment Program scores.

The Colorado Department of Education released statewide scores Friday in the context of the Colorado Growth Model, a comprehensive analysis emphasizing the progress made by students instead of simply looking at proficiency scores.

"The Colorado Growth Model answers two basic questions we all want answers to," said Assistant Commissioner of Education Richard Wenning in Friday's news release. "First, how much growth are students making and, second, is it good enough?"

Growth model scores are on a percentile scale, with the 30th to 60th percentiles being the average expected growth.

"It's great because we as teachers can sit down and say, 'OK this is how this student did last year, and this is what our school did last year, and this is how we've improved," assistant superintendent Christine Villard said. "It gives us meaningful information about what individual students are doing."

The growth rates reflect improvement from the last school year and not the school's achievement.

Overall in MCSD, the growth percentiles were 43, 43 and 46 in reading, math and writing, respectively. The test is given to fourth- through 10th-graders.

Only one segment had consistent growth levels over the 50th percentile, and that was writing at the high school level.

Math scores at East and Ridgeview elementaries showed growth percentiles above 50, while all schools had more than half of the students proficient or better in the reading category.

Writing scores showed improvement, as well, with four grades scoring above the median growth percentile. But proficiency remained low, with East showing only 27 percent proficiency.

In the writing category, especially at the high school level, superintendent Joe Petrone said there was much to celebrate.

"Last year, the teacher and administrators sat down and said they really wanted to focus on writing," Petrone said. "It really did make a difference. And students benefited from that growth, and that's what's important."

However, when looking at proficiency scores - how students scored on the test - they are lower than the state average, and many grades had lower proficiency levels than last year.

The 10th grade in particular fell from last year's 40 percent proficient rate to 30 percent.

"It is disappointing," Petrone said. "We want to have high growth and high proficiency. Any place where the students are not performing how we expect them to needs to be focused on, and that is where we enlist the expertise of the faculty. It's all about getting close to the classroom."

The CSAP scores will be used to formulate the Adequate Yearly Progress report.

If the AYP levels are not reached, as they have not been in years, Villard said, funding for the school will be earmarked to feed the programs that have fallen behind.

But, Villard said the CSAP scores should be looked at in a broader context.

"It's really telling us how much our children have learned in one year," Villard said. "And then, what can we do to make sure they stay on track, all year long. It's not just one snapshot."

Petrone agreed, encouraging the community to see CSAP as a "formative" assessment instead of a "summative" assessment.

The difference, Petrone said, is a summative assessment is an end in itself, and often judgmental. Instead, he wants the community to look at the scores as a part of a larger context and a tool for growing more and more each year.

"It's much more instructive to have growth represented," he said. "It gives us an opportunity to focus our efforts on areas that need improvements."

Although CSAP is not a full measurement of students' aptitudes, district officials said, it is important to adhere to the standards.

"But, it's important to remember this is only one measure," Villard said. "We want our students to be critical thinkers and question the status quo. There are many other ways of learning."

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