Roaring Fork test scores stable overall | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork test scores stable overall

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado School Accountability Reports for the Roaring Fork School District show the district overall has remained relatively stable from the 2005-06 to the 2006-07 school years.

Superintendent Judy Haptonstall was pleased with the overall status, despite some significant drops in performance at some of the schools. The district includes schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

“I wish all of the schools were high-achieving according to the accountability reports, but unfortunately they are not,” said Haptonstall. “I hope people will understand that we are working hard to improve students’ education in all the schools and that we are not satisfied until we do show improvement at all the schools in the district.”

Haptonstall’s main concern with the CSARs is that they don’t give accurate credit for student achievement. For example, she indicated that Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale made adequate yearly progress (AYP) last year for the first time in several years. That shows an improvement in academic growth of students. However, according to the CSARs released last week, Crystal River remained at “low” for overall academic performance while showing a “significant decline” for academic growth of students.

Those seem like contradictory terms, Haptonstall said.

“I was prepared for (Crystal River) to show improvement this year, because they did so well on the AYP assessment,” Haptonstall said. “But the CSARs didn’t reflect that.”

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Haptonstall contacted the Colorado Department of Education regarding the issue at Crystal River. According to Haptonstall, the CDE agreed that the ratings are not reflective of test score increases as a whole. She said that’s because in the case of Crystal River, third-graders aren’t included in the CSAR ratings and the overall determination is based on a formula and then placed on a bell curve. That system makes it hard for little improvements and gains to be recognized through the CSARs, she said.

Another issue impacting RFSD schools’ academic performance, according to Haptonstall, is the increasing Latino population and English Language Learners (ELL) in certain schools such as Crystal River. In most cases, each school that showed a decline in students’ academic growth has a larger population of ELL students.

“With continuing increases in the number of students who come to us not speaking English, remaining stable is an accomplishment to be celebrated,” Haptonstall said.

Haptonstall said the district will continue to focus on recently implemented writing and critical thinking programs that have improved academic performance. She said that those programs have improved learning districtwide since implementation.