Community School’s scores fall |

Community School’s scores fall

John Colson

The Aspen Community School saw its statewide student assessment scores fall in twice the number of categories showing improvement or no change.In certain test categories, the data from the small school in Woody Creek indicated spectacular increases or plummeting decreases in the scores.School officials have said in the past that, because the fact that the Community School has a very small student body, poor scores by a single student can pull down the composite score of an entire grade level.For example, the percentage of students performing at proficient or above in the third-grade writing test dropped from 67 percent last year to 8 percent this year. But the proficiency score in the seventh-grade writing test rose from 64 percent last year to 100 percent this year.The school has approximately 120 students, and past school officials have noted that the variable CSAP scores are in part due to the school’s unorthodox educational philosophy and its refusal to focus overly on “teaching to the test” as a way to raise its scores. Principal Jim Gilchrist was at an educational conference on Wednesday and was not available for comment on the scores.The Colorado Student Assessment Program, which measures student achievement in grades 3 through 10 according to statewide standards, is given every spring in public schools in the areas of reading, writing, math and science. (Only the fifth, eighth and 10th grades take the science test.)The test results report the number of students who perform at four different levels of achievement – advanced, proficient, partially proficient or unsatisfactory.The Aspen School District, which oversees the Aspen Community School, released data concerning the percentages of students who tested at the level of proficient or advanced.In the ACS test results, the scores in 12 different categories fell to some degree, while scores rose in six categories.The biggest drops, in terms of percentages, were in the writing tests for the third, fifth and sixth grades, although the data the district released did not provide details about the numbers of students in each grade level.The biggest gain was in the math section of the test for the fourth grade, where 86 percent of the students were proficient or advanced this year, compared to 60 percent last year.In sixth-grade reading the score remained at 100 percent, with no change from last year, and in fifth-grade math the score rose from 70 percent last year to 71 percent this year.John Colson’s e-mail address is


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