Community group urging students to ‘show what they know’ on standardized tests
March 14, 2012
At a glance …
• Maximum Commitment to Excellence is spearheading an effort to rally around students taking the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program.
• TCAP is a modified version of the Colorado Student Assessment Program.
• East Elementary School principal: Testing can be “pretty daunting” for students.
• Members of the grassroots group are putting up signs and banners in their businesses to encourage students to perform well on the standardized test.
“It kind of gives me goose bumps to think about … everybody getting behind our students on a thing that’s really important but also very difficult for kids.”
— Sarah Hepworth, East Elementary School principal, on signs around Craig encouraging students to perform well on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program
Joel Browning's hands moved rapidly Tuesday as he cut, peeled and smoothed large vinyl letters inside his shop on Yampa Avenue.
"Good luck," one row of letters read. Another spelled out the message, "Show What You Know."
Browning, owner of Identity Graphics in downtown Craig, has made several banners and signs with a similar message recently. Their ultimate goal is to encourage students to perform well on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program currently underway in the Moffat County School District.
Several signs and banners have sprung up in a few Craig businesses so far, and Cook Chevrolet owner Scott Cook is confident more will go up soon.
"The small businesses of Craig have always done more than their fair share of supporting events like this, so I don't think that this will be any different," said Cook, a member of the grassroots group Maximum Commitment to Excellence.
He and other group members put up the signs in their businesses in an effort to show support for students taking the TCAP.
In his view, awareness of the test and its implications, both for schools and students, is critical.
"It's a big deal to schools, and we just want everybody to know how important it is and concentrate on showing what you know," he said.
TCAP was created as a bridge between the old Colorado Model Content Standards and the new Colorado Academic Standards, which were part of a push to better prepare students for life after graduation, the Colorado Department of Education reported in a news release.
In many ways, though, TCAP is similar to its predecessor. It tests all students in third through 10th grades in math, reading and writing. Fifth-, eighth- and 10th-graders also are tested in science.
"It's a pretty daunting task for all of our kids," said Sarah Hepworth, East Elementary School principal.
"It's very intense, it's very lengthy" and it spans multiple days, she said.
She believes signs students see around town urging them to give their best on the tests may be the push they need to get them through.
"It kind of gives me goose bumps to think about … everybody getting behind our students on a thing that's really important but also very difficult for kids," she said.
Superintendent Joe Petrone was at the Commitment to Excellence subcommittee meeting in February where the idea first surfaced. When committee members suggested putting up visible signs of support for students, he was "delighted to hear" the proposal, he said.
TCAP test scores become part of students' educational records but they don't factor into whether a student passes or fails a class, Hepworth said.
Still, Cook believes measuring progress has applications for students because it operates on the same concept that applies to business and athletics as well as academics.
"You've got to know where you are now before you can get to where you want to be," he said.
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