Moffat County High School shines as growth score results are tallied
Growth scores track the amount students learn from one year to the next and district-wide average scores trail those achieved by other districts in region
Craig — Moffat County High School students are outpacing the state average growth learning in English language arts and math as measured through comparisons of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) exam scores taken in the past two consecutive years.
High school students recorded a 63 percent growth in language arts and 50.5 percent growth in math. The state average in language arts is 50 percent and 49 percent in math.
“My department attributes that success to the deep planning we have been doing to build comprehensive units that students need to be successful in real life,” said High School Language Arts Teacher Amy Hansen. “Writing skills, communication, using ‘Understanding by Design’ and teaching so that they can transfer those skills as well as looking at past data have all been important in providing students what they need.”
Understanding the scores
This is the first year that the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam has been used to develop measures of student growth.
Measuring learning growth requires at least two years of data for comparison and 2015 was the first year that the state used the PARCC exam as the testing tool; therefore it isn’t possible to directly compare results to that of previous years.
Achievement performance test score results previously released are different from growth scores, as growth scoring show the progress of students from one year to the next and also allows learners of similar performance levels and backgrounds to be compared to their peers.
“Achievement is focused on the performance at a point in time, growth provides an indication of what happens in-between the assessments,” the School Growth Report provided by the Colorado Department of Education said. “Looking at both achievement and growth results provides a more in-depth picture of performance.”
It is important to understand that growth is independent of achievement levels, as students at all achievement levels are just as likely to have high growth as low growth, said the report.
“I always pay a great deal of attention to the growth measure as it is an indicator of the value added by our teachers,” said Superintendent of Schools Dave Ulrich.
Growth rates for individual students are calculated then used to help determine school and district growth rates with Median Growth Percentiles calculated for the whole school, by grade, and by different student groups such as girls compared to boys.
Higher median growth percentiles indicate higher growth rates for typical students in those groups. Missing data reflects that fewer than 20 students were tested and their data is not shown to ensure privacy, the report said.
Results for Moffat County schools
High school learners demonstrated the most growth across all grades and all subjects; although Sunset Elementary School students earned the top average score in the district in math.
Sunset students achieved a 60 percent growth score in math compared to the 50.5 percent average by the high school, the 47 percent average across the school district and the 50 percent state average.
“I think that largely these results are from targeted instruction. By pre and post testing we can give each student instruction designed to help them,” said Sunset Principal Jill Hafey. “We are very targeted each day and at the end of each lesson. We also do a lot of hands-on math to relate it to real life. Plus we have strong teachers to teach math.”
Average scores for schools:
• East Elementary School scored 42 percent in language arts and 43.5 in math.
• Ridgeview Elementary School scored 47 percent in language arts and 35 in math.
• Sandrock Elementary School scored 34.5 percent in language arts and 52 percent in math.
• Sunset Elementary School scored 34.5 percent in language arts and 60 percent in math.
• Scores for the Maybell school were not reported.
• Craig Middle School scored 38 percent in language arts and 41 percent in math.
• Moffat County High School scored 63 percent in language arts and 50.5 percent in math.
Regional comparisons for all students
Despite strong results from some schools when scores are analyzed for all students — including non-English learners, all genders, all grade levels, all achievement levels and all ethnicities and minorities — in comparison to surrounding school districts, Moffat County schools are lagging behind with a district wide score of 43 in language arts and 44 in math.
• Steamboat Springs School District achieved 63 percent in language arts and 67 in math.
• Meeker School District achieved 55 percent in language arts and 67 in math.
• Rangely School District, where some students in the western part of Moffat County go to school, achieved 49 percent in language arts and 62 percent in math.
• Hayden School District achieved 48 percent in language arts and 52 percent in math.
The state overall average is 50 percent.
The Colorado Growth Model, interactive spreadsheets for all growth scores, for all public schools in the state is found at:
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Sara Linsacum has served as the assistant principal and athletic director for Craig Middle School since 2019. As a result of her work both in the pandemic and before it, she has been nominated for…