In preparation for this week's TCAP testing at elementary schools, Sandrock Elementary School held an assembly last Friday afternoon to get pumped and "SandROCK the test." Students did a TCAP song and dance to the rhythm of "Monster Mash."

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

In preparation for this week's TCAP testing at elementary schools, Sandrock Elementary School held an assembly last Friday afternoon to get pumped and "SandROCK the test." Students did a TCAP song and dance to the rhythm of "Monster Mash."

Moffat County students to transition to new testing format

By the end of this month, students in Moffat County School District will have taken TCAP tests for the last time. But, as they continue to learn, they’ll be moving on to different sorts of evaluations.

Testing Timeline

The following marks which state-administered tests have been or will be utilized for assessing Moffat County students

2013

TCAP — Reading, writing and math for students grades 3 to 10; science for grades 5, 8 and 10

CoAlt — For students with significant cognitive disabilities

ACCESS — For ELL students

Colorado ACT — For all Colorado high school juniors

2014

TCAP — Reading, writing and math for students grades 3 to 10

CMAS — Social studies for grades 4 and 7 in spring; science for grades 5 and 8 in spring; social studies and science for grade 12 in fall

CoAlt — Uses both TCAP and CMAS formats

ACCESS

ACT

2015

PARCC — Reading, writing and math for grades 3 to 11

CMAS — Same as prior year

CoAlt — Uses both PARCC and CMAS format

ACCESS

ACT

— Details about these tests can be found at cde.state.co.us/assessment.

This marks the third and final year for the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program for schools within the state. The TCAP format was implemented in 2012 as a temporary replacement for the long-standing Colorado Student Assessment Program tests.

MCSD students began testing this week at the elementary level, grades three through five, and next week, the middle school and high school students up to grade 10 will be tackling the exams.

Older kids have gotten used to the spring tradition that has them devoting much of their class time to the assessments in reading, writing and math. For the younger grades, elementary schools have offered recent special events to bolster their confidence before sitting down for testing sessions that are still new to them.

Some of the details will already start to change during this school year. In addition to TCAPs this month, certain grade levels will be working with a new testing model in April, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success.

CMAS will test students in science at grades five and eight, which was previously done through the TCAP. High school sophomores also previously tested in science with TCAP, but knowledge of the subject will now be assessed in the fall of students’ senior year, henceforth.

The CMAS will also include a new subject that was never part of CSAP or TCAP — social studies, testing of which will be administered to fourth- and seventh-graders in the spring and seniors in the fall.

Another difference is CMAS tests are computer-based as opposed to the booklets handed out with the TCAP. Practice tests that show what children can expect from the new style are available at pearsonaccess.com.

The electronic set-up will be available to all grade levels starting in spring 2015 as TCAP is fully replaced by PARCC — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — as the evaluator for reading, writing and math skills.

PARCC exams, which will also be given to high school juniors starting next year, can be found at practice.parcc.testnav.com.

The initial use of CMAS next month will give them an idea of how those taking the tests respond to the new system that will be in place, and a segue to the computerized test is one that will benefit the district and its students greatly, said MCSD Technology Director Marlene Knez.

For one thing, the district will be able to collect data more efficiently. TCAP results are not compiled and released until summer, but CMAS and PARCC have the potential to show students’ progress much quicker.

Nearly 1,300 Moffat County students took the TCAP in the 2012-2013 school year, according to data from Colorado Department of Education.

As for the tests themselves, the style of questioning alone is an improvement, Knez said.

“I think it better reflects our current standards,” she said. “Everybody seems very positive about it, and we’ve already done online testing with MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress), so the kids are already used to it and teachers have been exposed to it. I’ve heard nothing but excitement for testing online.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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