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Aspen Elementary gets high marks on CSAP

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Roaring Fork Valley third-graders have made the grade.

The results of the 2003 Colorado Student Assessment Program for third-grade reading were released Tuesday, and a majority of valley schools scored close to or above the state average.

At Aspen Elementary School, 94 percent of the third-graders who took the CSAP test received a score in the top two categories, “proficient” and “advanced.” Statewide, 74 percent of third-graders received top scores, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

Aspen Elementary’s CSAP results held steady as 93 percent of the school’s third-graders received “proficient” and “advanced” reading scores last year, while 96 percent met the challenge in 2001.

“It proves that [high scoring] is not a function of a certain population, it’s a function of excellent instruction,” Aspen Elementary Principal Barb Pitchford said.

Pitchford estimated that 124 students – including those enrolled in special education and English-as-a-second-language classes – took the test in mid-March.

“The special ed. and English-language learners performed really well, so the interventions we have are obviously working,” she said.

CSAP scores have four categories: “unsatisfactory,” “partially proficient,” “proficient” and “advanced.” Aspen Elementary didn’t record a single “unsatisfactory” score this year, while just six students registered as “partially proficient.”

Those students have already been identified by teachers and helped with individual learning plans, Pitchford said.

The Aspen Community School, a charter program of the Aspen School District, also received an outstanding score. All nine students enrolled in the third grade scored “proficient” and “advanced,” said Principal Jim Gilchrist.

Community School administrators aren’t overly fond of state-mandated tests, but they are delighted with the results of this particular exam.

“Of course we’re thrilled,” Gilchrist said. “[But] it’s just one small piece that we use to assess students.”

The state average wasn’t quite topped at Basalt Elementary School. Of the 81 students that took the CSAP reading test, 70 percent scored “proficient,” 20 percent scored “partially proficient,” and the remaining 10 percent scored “unsatisfactory.”

Carbondale Elementary School didn’t fare as well as its neighbors. Eighty third-graders took the CSAP test, with 39 percent scoring in the top categories. The remaining students were split – 31 percent scored “partially proficient,” and 30 percent had “unsatisfactory” scores.

More than 53,000 students at 900 elementary schools took the CSAP reading test this March. Students in grades three through 10 face CSAP tests each spring in a variety of categories, including reading, writing, math and science.

Third-grade reading scores are released before the end of the school year to allow administrators time to identify struggling students. Additional CSAP scores will be released this summer.

Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]


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