Moffat County test scores lower than in 2015, Rangely scores rise by 6 to 12 percent
Craig — Moffat County School District student performance in 2016 lagged behind last year’s averages in science and social studies. Performance also is behind state averages, according to test results released by the Colorado Department of Education earlier this month.
Results released included scores on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) in science and social studies, the PSAT and ACT standardized tests.
In Moffat County, East Elementary school science and social studies test scores were slightly higher with a 1.3 percent improvement from 2015, but performance declined between 5.9 and 29.7 percent at all the other elementary schools and at Craig Middle School.
Ridgeview Elementary had the poorest performance in science and social studies.
“We are in the process of evaluating the achievement data that has been released. As teachers come back we will be in conversation with them about the data from last year,” said new Ridgeview Elementary School Principal John Haddan.
Scores for students in Rangely, where Moffat County students living in the Dinosaur area go to school, are generally up from last year by 6.6 to 12.2 percent, but the scores are still trending below the state average.
“We had some transition in staff the year before,” said Rangely School District Superintendent Mathew Scoggins. “I’ve been here for four years now. We are coming together as a team. We are not where we want to be, but we are moving in the right direction.”
According to the Colorado Department of Education website, assessments were administered in elementary, middle and high schools in spring of 2016. Students in grades five, eight and 11 took the science assessments. Social studies assessments were administered in grades four and seven on a sampling basis to one-third of the schools.
“We can do better on these numbers. Our kids score below the state (averages) in every category. We will be looking at how we measure learning through the school year and how that can be improved so that we have a very good idea about how our kids will perform at the end of the year,” said MCSD Superintendent David Ulrich.
The PSAT tests the same skills and knowledge as the SAT in a way that makes sense for 10th graders. It builds on the CMAS tests in science and social studies and aligns with the SAT. It can identify student’s potential for success in advanced course work, according to the Colorado Department of Education website.
Total PSAT scores in Moffat County were 53 points below the state average, and in Rangely results were down 7.6 points from the state average.
The ACT is a college entrance exam and, according to the ACT website, over 1.8 million graduates take the ACT each year, making it the leading U.S. college admissions testing company.
Average ACT scores by Moffat County were the same for the past two school years and were up slightly for students in Rangely as compared to the year before; however, in both cases scores were about 2 percent lower than the state average.
“We’ve not been happy with the flat and downward sloping trend in student achievement. It is a systemic issue. We have been trying to address the systemic issue. The root cause is a lack of alignment with state standards and our curriculum,” said Director of Curriculum and Educator Effectiveness Zack Allen.
Not all testing data has been released.
“This is a small picture. English language arts and math assessments are coming next. This will provide a status score and then after that we will see the growth for those scores. The state when it measures for accountability it places more weight on growth scores rather than on status scores,” Allen said.
MCSD has begun the process to implement some changes for students and teachers to be more successful.
“From the student’s perspective we want instruction to be relevant and it is important to provide an understanding of why it’s important for students to know what they are going to be learning right up front,” Allen said. “From the teacher’s perspective we have a district alignment of scope and sequence of units of instruction that provide a framework or structure to build daily lessons plans. This will allow for enriched collaboration.”
Educators are still awaiting results in math and English as well as student growth measures that look at how much children learn throughout the year, before finalizing plans to improve student success.
“A large piece of performance won’t be reported until late fall,” Ulrich said. “Our kids out pace what would be considered the average in growth during the school year.”
The Moffat County School struggling the most, Ridgeview, has had a change in leadership over the summer.
“Conversations with the teachers are going to be the key to moving forward,” Haddan said.
Local land managers have proposed allowing the public to rent out Sarvis Cabin on the banks of the Yampa River just below Stagecoach Reservoir.