Third-grade CSAP scores have fallen |

Third-grade CSAP scores have fallen

Seventy-two percent of Moffat County’s third-graders earned a passing score in reading on the Colorado Student Assessment Program test.

That’s seven points lower than last year’s third-graders scored, but school district officials say they haven’t had the data long enough to determine why.

Friday is the earliest they could have seen the figures, but most didn’t have access until Monday.

The Colorado Department of Education had refused to disclose the numbers, but released the information after the Rocky Mountain News filed a freedom of information request. The CDE’s goal was to hold the data until July and release the numbers along with assessment results for all other content areas and grade levels.

Even following the Rocky Mountain New request, the test results aren’t available from the CDE Web site.

Third grade is the first year students take the CSAP test, so a student’s score can’t be compared with a previous score. At this level, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Joel Sheridan said, the scores establish a baseline.

The district is concerned with the number of students who score proficiently, but it really focuses on the ones who earned an unsatisfactory rating, Sheridan said.

“Those kids are our biggest concern because they’re really having difficulty,” he said. “They need intervention and they need it now.”

The Colorado Basic Literacy Act requires that students not reading at grade level by the third grade be placed on an Individual Literacy Plan, which defines they steps that will be taken to get that student to proficiency.

The CSAP test was first given in 1997, so when all scores are released this summer, school districts will be able to chart a specific class’ progress as opposed to comparing one group of students to another.

Scores dropped across the state, with the average falling from 74 percent proficient to 71 percent proficient.

In a quick glance at the information, Sheridan found it interesting to note that males and females scored closely in reading. Data shows that gap widens until students hit fifth or sixth grade where it stays, sometimes at a 15 point difference.

“We’re starting to see patterns,” Sheridan said. “The more years you have, the more conclusions you can draw.”

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or at

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