Aspen students slip on CSAP tests | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen students slip on CSAP tests

ASPEN ” Aspen area third-graders continue to outperform their statewide counterparts in standardized reading proficiency tests, according to results released this week, although Aspen’s numbers dropped this year when compared to last year’s scores.

Approximately 81 percent of Aspen’s third-graders are either “advanced” or “proficient” in reading, according to the 2007 Colorado Student Achievement Program test results released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

That figure, however, represents a drop from last year, when local third-graders scored an overall 94 percent proficient or better.



But Aspen’s numbers remain considerably better than the statewide average, which is 71 percent “proficient and advanced,” according to an Aspen School District calculation.

“Overall, I think the school is disappointed that their numbers fell,” said Aspen School District Assistant Superintendent Bev Tarpley, about the decline in scores at Aspen Elementary School. But, she noted, CSAP scores are viewed by educators as only part of a broader picture of a student’s academic achievments.



The tests were administered to students at Aspen Elementary and Aspen Community schools in February as part of the general CSAP test regimen. The third-grade scores are being reported now “so teachers can use the results in their decision making” about lesson plans and instructional goals, according to Tarpley.

The remainder of the CSAP scores from the February testing, including the balance of third-grade scores in other subjects and all CSAP scores for grades 4 through 10, will be released in August, Tarpley said.

According to Tarpley’s compilation of the scores, the vast majority of Aspen’s third-graders, or 73 percent, scored a proficient in the tests. Six percent of Aspen Elementary School third-graders, and 13 percent from Aspen Community School, scored at the advanced level, which left 20 percent at AES and 13 percent at ACS in the partially-proficient category.

Overall, Tarpley reported, the Aspen percentages (both schools combined on an average percentile level) were seven percent advanced, 73 percent proficient and 19 percent partially proficient. No students scored in the unsatisfactory range among Aspen-area schools.

That compares to statewide scores of 7 percent advanced, 64 percent proficient, 19 percent partially proficient and 10 percent unsatisfactory.

Tarpley stressed that area educators are studying the results to determine steps to improve scores, and the students’ understanding of their course work.

Acknowledging that this year’s scores are lower than last year’s, Tarpley said the results are still being analyzed. Until the district’s educators have a chance to finish that analysis, she declined to make any further comment on the matter.

In last year’s CSAP results, 100 AES third-graders scored 97 percent proficient or better. That equated to 12 percent advanced, 85 percent proficient and 3 percent partially proficient. At ACS for 2006, 13 students scored 87 percent proficient or better, which broke down to 13 percent advanced, 73 percent proficient and 13 percent partially proficient ” exactly the same scoring as the school received this year.

The combined AES/ACS scores for 2006 were 94 percent proficient or better, which broke down to 10 percent advanced, 84 percent proficient and six percent partially proficient, with a zero in the unsatisfactory category.

Tarpley said the current third-grade class contains a number of students who “require special intervention,” such as those whose primary language is not English or students in special education. She also said that the scores released this week did not reflect the performance of students with “special needs,” which will be contained in the August release of results.

In a prepared statement, Tarpley predicted that the analysis of the just-released scores will be finished “in the coming weeks,” and that “specific interventions will be designed for children who scored below proficiency.”

John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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