Area students prepare to take TCAPs instead of CSAPs |

Area students prepare to take TCAPs instead of CSAPs

John Stroud
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

As Colorado public school students prepare to spend the next few weeks taking their annual state assessment tests, they’ll likely notice the tests look a little different from last year.

The Colorado Department of Education is making the move this school year from the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) to the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP).

The new tests reflect Colorado’s new, more stringent academic standards in reading, writing, math and science.

The “transitional” test is a first step toward what will eventually be a revamped set of tests designed to measure student proficiency around the higher academic expectations, according to a Colorado Department of Education statement issued when the new assessment program was announced last year.

Third-grade students have already taken the tests in local school districts and around the state.

Students in fourth through 10th grades are scheduled to begin taking the tests starting this week and continuing until after spring break.

“The transitional test will encourage districts to move forward with their implementation of the new standards while providing time for the preparation of students for the higher expectations to come,” said Jo O’Brien, assistant commissioner in the Department of Education’s Office of Standards and Assessment.

“It is important for students to have been taught the new standards, including new learning skills, by the time the new assessment is in place in 2014,” she said.

The Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids, signed into law in 2008, established a goal to better prepare students for college and work-force readiness.

In response, the state adopted new academic standards that were intended to be less cumbersome but set the bar higher.

The new standards were adopted in 2009, followed by work to redesign the state assessment tests.

In 2013, students will again be given the TCAP. It will include new pilot assessment items that are being evaluated for the new permanent assessment, due out in 2014.

The same content areas and grades will continue to be assessed in the new system. That includes math, reading and writing assessments in grades three through 10. Science standards are assessed in fifth, eighth and 10th grades only.

The Colorado ACT continues to be administered in the 11th grade for college admission purposes.

Colorado’s work to adopt higher standards and improve school accountability was one of the reasons the state was waived from provisions in the federal No Child Left Behind law.

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