Test results reveal strengths, weaknesses among Moffat County students | CraigDailyPress.com

Test results reveal strengths, weaknesses among Moffat County students

Lauren Blair

Moffat County Director of Curriculum and Assessment Amy Ward reviews TCAP results from the 2013-14 school year at the August school board meeting. School districts in Colorado are transitioning this year to the new CMAS assessment, which comes with more rigorous standards and new categories to measure results.

Moffat County schools weighed in with some above-average as well as some below-average scores on the new statewide science and social studies assessments.

The results of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests were released Monday, confirming predictions that fewer students statewide would meet or exceed the new, rigorous expectations set forth in the tests.

The first round of the new statewide assessment was administered in spring of 2014 to elementary and middle school students. Fifth-graders and eighth-graders were tested in science, and fourth-graders and seventh-graders were tested in social studies.

"The test results establish a new baseline for science and a first-ever baseline for social studies for Colorado," according to a press release from the Colorado Department of Education. "The tests are based on Colorado-developed standards in science and social studies."

In science, Moffat County elementary schools on the whole performed better than the state average, with 36 percent of fifth-grade students demonstrating a "strong command" or "distinguished command" compared to a statewide average of 34 percent.

There was a wide disparity, however, between elementary schools in the district, with 49 percent of Sunset Elementary students scoring in the strong and distinguished categories, 40 percent of Sandrock students, 33 percent of Ridgeview students and 14 percent of East students.

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Four categories are used with CMAS results in order to delineate student achievement.

"To reflect the new expectations, new student performance level labels and descriptors were adopted," CDE said in the release. "They include distinguished command, strong command, moderate command and limited command. The top two levels indicate that a student is on track for being college and career ready."

On the eighth-grade level, Craig Middle School came in below the state average in science, with only 25 percent of its students demonstrating a strong or distinguished command compared to 32 percent statewide.

In social studies, Moffat County students performed less well. Fourth-graders averaged only 4 percent of students scoring in the strong or distinguished command categories compared to 17 percent statewide.

Meanwhile, 5 percent of CMS seventh-graders scored in the strong or distinguished Command categories compared to 17 percent statewide.

High school students will take their first CMAS assessments next month. Science and social studies will be administered to 12th-graders statewide between Monday and Nov. 21.

CMAS will replace the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, as the state's assessment tool for student learning and achievement.

TCAP was first implemented in 2012 following the adoption of the new Colorado Academic Standards by the Colorado State Board of Education in 2009 and 2011, according to the CDE website. The test was designed to help schools transition to the new standards. The more rigorous CMAS represents a full transition to the standards.

"The Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) are the expectations of what students need to know and be able to do at the end of each grade," the CDE said on its website. "They also stand as the values and content organizers of what Colorado sees as the future skills and essential knowledge for our next generation to be more successful."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.