Aspen outscores other Colorado schools on standardized tests
August 21, 2012
ASPEN – Students in the Aspen School District again outscored their peers in standardized state tests, in some cases by as much as 30 percentage points.
“The highlight is that once again we have strong test scores and are significantly above state averages,” Julia Roark, Aspen’s assistant superintendent, said at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.
Results from the 2012 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program – which replaced the previous Colorado Student Assessment Program – show that Aspen students were 86 percent proficient or above in reading, compared with 68 percent statewide. In writing, 71 percent of Aspen students were proficient or above, compared with 54 percent across the state. The stats were similar in math, with 72 percent of Aspen students proficient or better, compared with 56 percent of their peers. The gap in science was slightly greater at 21 percent, as 69 percent of Aspen students scored proficient or above compared with 48 percent statewide.
Top among the scores was one subset of writing. According to data released earlier this month, Aspen ninth-graders scored a full 30 percentage points above their Colorado peers. Aspen middle-schoolers scored nearly as well.
“This was really great to see. But we do have ups and downs in writing, which points to the fact that writing is an area we need to continue working on,” Roark said, noting that elementary writing scores still fell short of expectations. “Anytime we see scores in the 70th percentiles or lower, we want to improve.”
The same held true in math, with some outstanding scores – Aspen seventh-graders scored 26 percentage points better than their peers – and some that could use improvement – 59 percent of ninth-graders were proficient or above.
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“Again, we have some really high scores, but there are dips that we are not particularly pleased with,” Roark said. “We will continue to work on these through districtwide, pre-K-through-12 improvement plans.”
In terms of improvement, Roark said the district did see progress with English-language learners. According to the data, scores for these students in math, science and reading improved.
Students from third to 10th grade take the standardized tests every spring, a requirement under the federal No Child Left Behind law and its goal of having all students proficient at reading and mathematics by 2014. (A new standardized test is slated to replace the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program at that time.)
While that’s the federal mandate, the issue is more complex than just a test score, Aspen school administrators say.
“These scores are just one measure of success,” Roark said last week. “Our goal, as a district, is to not only score well on standardized tests but to graduate successful students and citizens.
“It is important to keep this all in perspective.”