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Aspen students fare well on test

Tim Mutrie

In the first-ever math assessment test administered to fifth-graders across Colorado, Aspen Middle School pupils fared better than the state average.

According to Lisa Halverson, testing coordinator for the Aspen School District, 9 percent of the school’s fifth-graders scored in the “advanced” level; 48 percent scored in the “proficient” level; 37 percent scored in the “partially proficient” level; and 4 percent scored in the “unsatisfactory” level.

Because the Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) test, administered in October 1999, was the first given to Colorado’s fifth-graders, the scores will be used as “baseline” data for comparison on future tests.

“We’re certainly pleased that we’re above the state average, but we recognize that we still have room to grow if only 57 percent of our kids are proficient or above,” said Halverson.

Across Colorado, 13 percent of fifth-graders scored in the advanced level; 34 percent scored in the proficient level; 38 percent scored in the partially proficient level; and 13 percent scored in the unsatisfactory level.

The scores of fifth-graders in the Roaring Fork School District, which includes schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs as well as the valley’s charter schools, were not available yesterday. A spokesperson from the Colorado Department of Education said results statewide would be officially released this morning.

CSAP tests are administered to a variety of grade levels in several different disciplines to monitor educational standards and progress. In the third grade, students take CSAP reading tests; in the fourth and seventh grades, students take reading and writing tests; and this March for the first time, students in the eighth grade will take science and math tests.

Colorado lawmakers, however, are wondering if the state’s schools should be judged based on the test results, especially after some legislators actually tried answering sample test questions (see page 13-A).

“We’re in a phase-in period for all the tests,” Aspen’s Halverson said. “Fourth-grade reading and writing tests were the first to start in 1997, and in March of 2001, tenth-grade students will be the first to take reading, writing and math tests. That’s the last group to be tested under the original assessment plan.”

The fifth-grade math assessment test included all but 2 percent of fifth-graders, including students with learning disabilities or other handicaps, as well as students enrolled in English as a Second Language classes.


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