Re-1 test scores steadily increasing |

Re-1 test scores steadily increasing

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – While student performance statewide on standards testing remained essentially unchanged from last year, students in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt continued to make gains, according to Roaring Fork District Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall.

“CSAP scores across the district showed a decided upward trend,” Haptonstall said in response to the 2010 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) results, which were released this week.

The CSAP tests are administered in public schools each year in grades 3 through 10 to measure proficiency in reading, writing, math and science.

“Scores for our native English-speaking students continue to climb higher and higher, and our native Spanish speakers made some good progress in [closing] the achievement gap between our two groups of students,” she said.

Especially pleasing was the fact that the district’s elementary schools as a whole achieved what’s known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in reading and math for the first time since the federal No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001, Haptonstall said.

AYP counts the number of students who score as either proficient, partially proficient or advanced on the state CSAP tests from year to year, as measured against a federal target.

“That target goes up every three years,” Haptonstall explained. “All of our elementary schools, with the exception of one, met that target.”

The one school that remained below the target, Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, was just a couple of points off, which was still an improvement, she said.

Haptonstall also noted that the district “held its own” in comparison with the state average in each of the testing areas.

However, Re-1 still lags behind the state as a whole when it comes to proficiency rates in reading, writing, math and science.

One exception this year was eighth grade science, in which Re-1 eighth-graders exceeded the state proficiency average by one percentage point, scoring 49 percent compared to 38 percent last year.

“We were really pleased overall,” she said. “The state as a whole saw a fairly flat trend compared to last year, and our numbers really aren’t so flat. We keep getting closer to that state average, which has been hard to do because of our heavy Latino population.”

Even so, a breakdown of the numbers show test scores for native Spanish speakers continue to increase, as do scores for the district’s Anglo students, Haptonstall said.

Eighth grade reading scores, in particular, went up for both groups of students across the board at Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt middle schools.

At Carbondale Middle School, eighth grade Anglo students went from 78 percent reading proficient in 2009 to 100 percent this year. Latino students at CMS improved from 28 percent to 49 percent proficiency.

That brought CMS eighth-graders as a whole up from 42 percent reading proficient last year to 65 percent this year.

Glenwood Springs Middle School showed an overall gain in eighth grade reading proficiency as well, from 62 percent to 69 percent, including an increase for Anglo students from 76 percent to 89 percent. Reading scores for Latino eighth-graders at GSMS, however, fell from 40 percent to 38 percent.

Districtwide, eighth grade reading proficiency improved from 56 percent to 66 percent.

Re-1 did see a drop in the reading proficiency rate at some grade levels, including third grade, which fell from 72 percent to 65 percent; fifth grade, from 58 percent to 57 percent; and sixth grade, from 66 percent to 64 percent.

For writing, the district stayed the same or recorded proficiency gains at every grade level except sixth and seventh. In math testing, proficiency increased at every grade level except ninth. And in science testing, which was only administered in fifth, eighth and 10th grades, Re-1 students improved at each grade level.

“We more than held our own in comparisons with the state average with the majority of grade levels and content areas, seeing much bigger increases and smaller decreases than those seen at the state level,” Haptonstall noted.

CSAP test scores are only part of the equation in determining the district’s effectiveness in meeting students’ individual needs, she said.

Haptonstall noted that Re-1’s graduation rate exceeds the state average, 83 percent for Re-1, compared with 71 percent statewide.

“And we send 94 percent of our graduates to college,” she said. “Many of our high school students earn both high school and college credits, some of whom receive both a high school diploma and at least one year of college credit at the same time.”

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