CMAS/PARCC State scores released
Colorado’s Board of Education received the first statewide scores from its renovated testing program, known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, last week and the academic agency says results should be used only as a starting point for future assessment, not compared to other iterations of prior evaluation.
Beginning this past spring, the CMAS, in partnership with those states comprising the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), and emphasizing English language arts and mathematics, replaced the TCAP tests, or Transitional Colorado Assessment Program. Before that, the TCAPs replaced the state’s first required public testing process, the CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) starting with the 2011-12 school year.
Initial data from the first year of the CMAS shows that, among the third- through 11th-graders who took the exams, fewer than 42-percent of any group met or exceeded English language arts grade-level expectations for the updated, more rigorous Colorado Academic Standards introduced during for the 2013-14 academic year. For math, no grade surpassed a proficiency of 37 percent.
In addition, although test-taking numbers were strong among elementary and middle school students, participation tails off grades 9-11, with less than 51-percent of 11th-graders taking part. A new law passed last spring no longer requires 10th- and 11th-graders to take the PARCC-designed evaluations.
“These scores don’t provide an apples-to-apples comparison to old test scores,” said Elliott Asp, interim commissioner of education, in a news release. “We should consider these scores as a new baseline from which we will measure the future success of Colorado students.”
CMAS tests will eventually function as the TCAPs and CSAPs did before it, in determining district accreditation and accountability ratings, as well as educator evaluations. In the meantime, the state legislature put in a place a one-year pause in the system to allow students and educators alike to familiarize themselves with both the new standards and assessments. Districts will continue implementing plan types assigned in fall 2014 before a new five-year accountability clock starts anew with the 2016-17 school year.
Individual student and district-level CMAS results, including Summit’s, will be released in a limited format on Friday, Dec. 4, before a full public release of the latter the morning of Friday, Dec. 11.
The PEAK School Thanksgiving Drive
As part of its Service Learning Day on Wednesday, Nov. 18, The PEAK School in Frisco held its first-ever Thanksgiving food drive with intentions of making the successful community service project an annual tradition.
Students sixth though eighth grade at the Summit County middle school collected and sorted nearly 500 donated, nonperishable food items including canned goods and baking supplies, in addition to roasting trays. The undertaking took place to help resident families in need of assistance to celebrate the holiday with full plates, and hopefully fuller stomachs.
The students’ efforts yielded 40 paper bags of food that were then distributed to the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) in Silverthorne. The FIRC is a local assistance nonprofit serving Summit County since 1993, and lists its mission statement as promoting stable families. FIRC programs range from its food bank, to emergency and resource referral services, as well as childcare and even a teaching kitchen among its classroom spaces.
PEAK teachers attend fall forum
Speaking of The PEAK School, the college-preparatory day school sent two of its teachers to an annual enrichment meeting for professional development, this year in Portland, Maine.
Spanish teacher Monica Mills and Liz Roush of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) department attended the Coalition of Essential School (CES)’s Fall Forum. This year’s theme for the event was building new networks of likeminded innovators focused on change within a community, including students, parents, local activists and civic leaders.
The three-day conference centered around workshops on theoretical concepts and philosophy related to curriculum and teaching methods. A keynote speech was also given by Kim Carter, executive director of the Q.E.D. Foundation, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit made up of youth and adults who work together to create student-centered learning populations.
The CES maintains a vision of creating and sustaining personalized, equitable and challenging schools, and the Q.E.D. provides training and coaching in support of collaborative learning practices in education. Both fall in line with PEAK’s goals of providing an individual-first, intellectually driven course of study that fosters community development and a passion for learning.
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