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CSAP scores show racial divide

Lu Snyder

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit School District CSAP scores exceed Colorado averages, but school officials are looking for ways to improve, especially in elevating minority test scores.

Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) scores were released in July for the 2002-03 school year. The school board was given an analysis at its Aug. 28 meeting.

CSAP rates students as “unsatisfactory,” “partially proficient,” “proficient” and “advanced.”

The most significant trend in the district’s CSAP scores is the gap between the percentage of white students scoring proficient or advanced and that of Hispanic students. That gap ranges from as low as 17 percent to as high as 64 percent.

The district’s goal is to eliminate that gap so all students are performing at proficient levels or above, regardless of race.

In fact, new Superintendent Dr. Lynn Spampinato is setting a goal that 85 percent of students score at proficient or above across all grade levels.

Breaking the scores down by school and then by grade gives educators a better picture of where the district’s programs are succeeding and where they are not.

For example, while Frisco and Breckenridge elementary schools have a significant number of fifth-graders scoring in the advanced category, fifth-graders at Dillon Valley scored below both the district and state averages.

District officials have forwarded the detailed CSAP results to each school, where the principals will discuss applicable trends with their staffs and look for ways to improve, said Millie Hamner, the district’s assistant superintendent.

Officials expect some fluctuation in the scores at the elementary levels, because the student populations at those schools are small.

As a district, Summit County averages exceed state averages in all subjects and all grades with the exception of eighth grade reading, which is 1 percent lower than the state average.

In several areas – fourth-, seventh-, ninth- and tenth-grade reading; writing in all grades but eighth; and math for all grades – district students scored significantly higher than state averages.

The most meaningful trends are those for each class as it progresses from one grade to the next. Most groups show one year’s growth from year to year but not much more than that. In general, Hamner said, students who initially score below state averages tend to continue to score low, and those who score high continue to score high.

Though CSAP scores provide school officials with good information, the results tend to provoke more questions, Hamner said.

“I think the point isn’t to compare us to the state but to compare us to ourselves,” Spampinato said. “Our goal is to make every child proficient or advanced. As we focus on our goals, we need to look at “are we providing every child with the opportunity to be proficient?'”

– Lu Snyder


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