Ridgeview Elementary third-graders, from left, Caden Call, Torin Gray, Emmalee Knez, Ethan Hafey and Faith Berkey participate Thursday in guided reading. Their teacher, Katie Wheeler, designed the reading exercise after a unified curriculum program developed by first- and second-grade teachers at Ridgeview.

Photo by Joe Moylan

Ridgeview Elementary third-graders, from left, Caden Call, Torin Gray, Emmalee Knez, Ethan Hafey and Faith Berkey participate Thursday in guided reading. Their teacher, Katie Wheeler, designed the reading exercise after a unified curriculum program developed by first- and second-grade teachers at Ridgeview.

Moffat County third-graders score below state average in reading proficiency

State releases third grade TCAP reading scores

By the numbers...

Percent of Moffat County School District third-graders who tested proficient or advanced in reading during the 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test.

Moffat County School District

• 2013 — 62.1 percent

• 2012 — 68.4 percent

• 2011 — 64 percent

• 2010 — 60 percent

• 2009 — 61 percent

• 2008 — 63 percent

East Elementary

• 2013 — 49.2 percent

• 2012 — 57.9 percent

• 2011 — 61 percent

• 2010 — 58 percent

• 2009 — 49 percent

• 2008 — 49 percent

Ridgeview Elementary

• 2013 — 68.8 percent

• 2012 — 70.3 percent

• 2011 — 56 percent

• 2010 — 81 percent

• 2009 — 62 percent

• 2008 — 72 percent

Sandrock Elementary

• 2013 — 58.8 percent

• 2012 — 71.4 percent

• 2011 — 64 percent

• 2010 — 45 percent

Sunset Elementary

• 2013 — 67.3 percent

• 2012 — 74.5 percent

• 2011 — 78 percent

• 2010 — 67 percent

• 2009 — 73 percent

• 2008 — 71 percent

The 2013 state average was 73 percent

Quotable...

“It’s a short snapshot, but does it tell the whole story? It doesn’t. We’ll get the entire photo album in August and then we’ll really be able to look deeply at how our kids have grown and where we need to do better as a school district.”

Brent Curtice, assistant superintendent of the Moffat County School District, about third-grade reading proficiency scores released earlier this week by the Colorado Department of Education.

— Results from the state’s standardized reading test show third-graders in Moffat County are a little behind the curve, but local administrators are waiting for the full report before they evaluate educational programs in the district.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Education released the results of the reading portion of the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, for third grade students throughout the state.

Overall, the number of third-grade students in the Moffat County School District who tested at a proficient or advanced reading level was 11 percent lower than the state average of 73 percent.

TCAP evaluates students in third through 10th grades on three subjects: reading, writing and math. TCAP also evaluates student proficiency in science at the fifth-, eighth- and 10th-grade levels.

Brent Curtice, MCSD assistant superintendent, said it’s too soon to know where school district programs are lagging and where they are succeeding because the state places greater emphasis on improvement rather than simply on annual test scores. Because this was the first time local third-graders went through the TCAP process, and because the state only released one set of test scores, it doesn’t present an accurate representation of student learning in the district, Curtice said.

“It’s a short snapshot, but does it tell the whole story?” Curtice said. “It doesn’t. We’ll get the entire photo album in August and then we’ll really be able to look deeply at how our kids have grown and where we need to do better as a school district.”

Regardless of what local educators learn when the full report of scores is released in August, school district officials decided this year to take steps to improve education in Craig and Moffat County.

Through a partnership with Alexandria, Va.-based ASCD, formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, school district officials are in the midst of a three-year process to create a unified curriculum for each school in the district.

Dr. Eric Cavanaugh, of ASCD, has been meeting with administrators throughout the district and on Thursday visited with teachers at Ridgeview Elementary School.

The number of Ridgeview Elementary third-graders reading at a proficient or advanced level came back at 68.8 percent.

Although district third-grade reading proficiency had been on a steady upward trend until this year, Ridgeview reading scores have fluctuated greatly since 2008.

For example, in 2010 third-grade reading scores improved by almost 20 percent, or 81 percent proficiency, but dropped 25 percent in 2011 before rebounding in 2012 to 70 percent.

Interim Principal Amber Clark said that lack of year-to-year consistency proves something is amiss and thinks the school district has made the right move in partnering with ASCD to create a unified curriculum.

“This is one of the hardest things as an administrator because there are so many variables to take into consideration when trying to identify why there is a lack of consistency,” Clark said. “Across the district, curriculum has not been aligned, but we’re in the process of designing a purposefully planned curriculum.”

Despite the work that still needs to be done, Clark said she’s already seen the benefits of a unified curriculum.

Katie Wheeler, a third-grade teacher at Ridgeview, decided this year to take a page out of the book of some of her colleagues. Before coming to third grade, Wheeler said her students participated in a guided reading program implemented by Ridgeview’s first- and second-grade teachers.

“It was a collaborative planning process for their curriculum and instruction,” Wheeler said. “The teammates in third grade agreed on and agreed to implement (those same programs) on a consistent basis.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@CraigDailyPress.com

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