MCSD looks at declining CSAP proficiency levels |

MCSD looks at declining CSAP proficiency levels

Nicole Inglis

On the 'Net

The Web site provides a visual representation of growth and proficiency levels.

CSAP results

Moffat County School District CSAP proficiency levels


Grade level/% proficient and advanced/State average










Grade level/%proficient and advanced/State average










Grade level/% proficient and advanced/State average









When scores from the Colorado Student Assessment Program come in, work at the Moffat County School District has just begun.

This year, the district will look at root causes and effects of declining proficiency scores.

Although there has been growth in isolated areas from year to year, the number of students performing at a proficient or advanced level is lower than the district would like.

“It’s a concern,” assistant superintendent Christine Villard said. “The students’ learning, as measured by the CSAP, is at a lower level than the state average.”

In the reading category, only two grade levels had a percentage of proficient and advanced at or above the state average.

In writing, none of the grades were performing at those averages.

In math, two grade levels performed at or above state averages.

Villard said it is hard to conceptualize an overall picture of how Moffat County did because the scores are specific to grade-level and school.

“Our teachers are still busy teaching, our students are still busy learning,” she said. “And (CSAP) is only one measure of many. But, they’re Colorado standards, and we want to live up to them.”

Either way, high school principal Thom Schnellinger said he thinks there are important conversations to be had.

“It boils down to jumping into a dialogue with the staff,” he said. “And these can’t be short conversations.”

Villard warned parents and community members against expecting rapid changes based on the low proficiency scores.

“We have to be cautious about looking for a quick fix,” she said. “We naturally look for some way to just fix it all at once, and we have to avoid that. We’ll probably find multiple factors.”

Starting a dialogue

Because the school is behind the state average in proficiency, growth is necessary to catch up, making it important to keep an eye on the growth model the state is trying to gravitate toward.

The Colorado Growth Model measures how CSAP scores advance for each student compared to others with the same scores across the state.

“Since we’re behind that state average, from year to year our students have to show more than one year’s growth to make up that gap,” Villard said.

There were bright areas in growth model results in reading and writing.

Many students performing at the “unsatisfactory” level advanced to the “partially proficient” level.

“We’ve made much headway with students who were really struggling,” Schnellinger said. “But we’ve got to focus on all of it.”

Administrators and teachers have begun the process of “data dialogue,” in which vital pieces of data are analyzed and pieced together within a broader context, like fitting pieces of a puzzle together.

Until the puzzle is complete and the bigger picture is discernable, however, Villard said it is difficult to say where and how changes will be made.

The data dialogue will continue into the school year as teachers from different subjects sit down in focus groups to look at the statistics.

“It’s a little like the scientific method,” she said. “We are broken down into modules to help with the ease of systematically going through the data. Then we’ll create a hypothesis.”

A thoughtful plan

Villard said the keys to increasing student learning and growth are setting goals and ongoing reflection.

“We have to ask, ‘What do we want the students to learn?”’ she said. “Then we have to keep an eye on the progress.”

Some measures are already in place to keep students on track during the year.

Three times a year, students will participate in assessments to “take the temperature” of the learning climate in all of the schools.

“They’re not tests, really,” she said. “They’re measures of what students are learning. We want to use them as formative assessments. And then there’s the reflection on all of it. We have to find out what’s working.”

However, Villard said there wasn’t a rush to apply a plan immediately based on the CSAP scores.

“We have to do it carefully,” she said. “We might accidentally stop doing something that’s working, and we want to make sure we’re looking at the root causes.”

Schnellinger agreed it will be a drawn-out process to implement changes at the classroom level, but perspective is important.

“We have to look at it with open eyes, not through rose-colored glasses,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. And we have to do it one child at a time.”

Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User