Third-grade reading scores on the rise in Moffat County
May 12, 2011
Percentage of third-grade students reading at a proficient level by school, according to 2011 Colorado Student Assessment Program scores
East Elementary School: 61 percent
Ridgeview Elementary School: 56 percent
Sandrock Elementary School: 64 percent
Sunset Elementary School: 78 percent
Maybell Elementary School: Not available
Moffat County School District: 64 percent
State of Colorado: 67 percent
— No third-grade students in Moffat County School District received an advanced score in the CSAP reading test. Six percent of third-graders read at an advanced level statewide.
The Colorado Department of Education released a batch of unofficial Colorado State Assessment Program scores Tuesday. Those scores pertain to reading tests taken by third-graders in Moffat County in February.
Christine Villard, assistant superintendent for Moffat County School District, said the scores were well received.
"It was good news," she said.
Of the district's five elementary schools, three schools — East, Sandrock and Sunset elementary schools — showed increased percentages of proficient readers in their third-grade classrooms. Ridgeview Elementary School showed a decreased percentage of proficient readers.
Data is not available for Maybell Elementary School.
The district, as a whole, showed an increase in proficient readers from 60 percent in 2010 to 64 percent in 2011.
The statewide percentage of proficient readers is 67 percent.
No Moffat County School District third-graders read at an advanced level; statewide, six percent of third-graders read at an advanced level.
Sunset exceeds the state's proficient and advanced percentage with 78 percent of its third-grade readers scoring in the proficient range.
Percentages of proficient third-grade readers at other schools are: 64 percent at Sandrock, 61 percent at East and 56 at Ridgeview.
CSAP scores for other grades throughout the district, and for third-graders' math and writing tests, will be available in August.
Of the third-grade reading scores, Sandrock showed the biggest improvement over last year. In 2010, 45 percent of third-graders at Sandrock read at the proficient level. This year, the school improved its numbers significantly — 64 percent of third-graders are reading at a proficient level.
Villard characterized the Sandrock's growth in a word.
"Huge," she said.
Last year, Sandrock's CSAP scores were the lowest in the district, and the school was required to submit a priority improvement plan to the Department of Education.
This year's gains, Villard said, were the result of hard work on the part of Sandrock's teachers and administrators.
"I know they focused a tremendous amount of effort on their achievement scores and their student learning scores," Villard said. "They have worked as a team, they analyzed data in the fall. The unified (priority) improvement plan they submitted in December had sound strategies about tight curriculum alignment.
"Looking at data, they set up something that has been different from the other buildings in that they have progress-monitored every student, every month, all year. So, they were on top of where students were all the time."
Sandrock Principal Kamisha Siminoe said the school uses smaller assessments like STAR Math, Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS) and Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) to keep tabs on individual progress and performance.
"On a regular, consistent basis we're monitoring where our students are," she said. "If you're a kiddo that has more growth to do, then we're going to progress-monitor you more often to see where you're at and if our interventions are working.
"We were constantly seeing where students were at and adjusting things to best support them."
Siminoe said the teachers' in-house assessments were consistent with the CSAP scores Sandrock received. For that reason, she said she's looking forward to the other scores that will be released in August.
"I am very optimistic about that," she said.
Although the school's efforts to raise CSAP scores were time- and resource-intensive, Siminoe said it's a worthy pursuit.
"Absolutely, that's why we're here," she said. "Our primary job, of course, is to educate children and do that well. So, anything that we do that is focusing in on how do we get students to learn and achieve and make the gains that they need to make."
While Sandrock's scores are on the rise, third-grade readers at Ridgeview have hit an apparent rough patch.
Principal Julie Baker said this year's scores are unprecedented.
"This is the lowest third-grade reading score we've had in the last 13 years," she said. "Ridgeview, historically, has always had strong third-grade reading scores. Always."
Last year, for instance, 81 percent of third-graders at Ridgeview were proficient in reading. This year, that percentage has dropped to 56.
Baker said the score is inconsistent with the progress-monitoring that has been taking place throughout the school year.
"By and large, our MAPs and DIBELS scores show that the kids who scored partially proficient on CSAPs are consistently scoring proficient on those other two bodies of evidence, which makes us feel a heck of a lot better," she said.
Baker said some unforeseen factors may have contributed to poor performance on the day of the test. For instance, there was a significant spike in third-grade enrollment at Ridgeview days prior to the reading test, and some students were sick with the flu. For that reason, Baker predicts higher numbers in August.
"Our scores are going to come in better," she said. "A lot of last-minute factors came into play on that early third-grade reading session that did not come into play for the rest of the testing session."
Nonetheless, Baker said she'll take a close look at the details of the test results.
"We're already on it," she said. "If we went wrong somewhere, we'll figure out where we went wrong.
"But, the other data sure supports that we're on the right track."
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