CSAPs: Summit Schools’ third graders read on par with the state | SummitDaily.com

CSAPs: Summit Schools’ third graders read on par with the state

Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News

Summit School District’s third graders scored on par with reading achievement statewide as well as district historical data, but there are a few spots that identify areas for improvement.

Seventy percent of district’s third graders who took the Colorado reading assessment this February scored proficient or advanced, compared to 73 percent statewide. That’s compared to 70 percent for both district and state last year.

“We’re very consistent,” interim superintendent Karen Strakbein said. “The good news is we haven’t dropped. But there’s still some problem areas to address.”

Rural schools made the biggest gains in the state, including in McClave, south of Kit Carson, where 68 percent scored proficient, up from 43 percent last year. In the metro area, Adams District 14 also had significant gains, with 56 percent of students scoring proficient, compared to 45 percent who did last year. But the picture is gloomier in the larger districts, like Greeley and Englewood, where student performance declined.

The test is held in February because of the Colorado Basic Literacy Act, which requires early intervention for students who are not on track. Intervention includes writing a plan that includes students, teachers and parents as well as monitoring and benchmarking using reading tests. Other state assessment results are released in the fall.

Breckenridge, Frisco and Summit Cove elementary schools saw percentages of student scoring proficient or advanced in the mid-70 percent range. Upper Blue Elementary topped all the local schools with 96 percent of its third graders scoring proficient or advanced. Dillon Valley and Silverthorne elementary schools lag behind, with 51 and 61 percent of students passing the test, respectively.

Compared to historical data, though, Dillon Valley and Silverthorne are generally improving their third-grade reading scores over the years. Dillon Valley saw 22 percent of its students scoring well on the test in 2008, 44 percent in 2010 and 51 percent this year. On the other hand, Summit Cove Elementary has seen data that’s more jumbled: 84 percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in 2008, 94 percent in 2010 and 75 percent this year. Frisco and Breckenridge elementary schools are seeing large movements through the years, as well, and the district hopes to find the root causes of the anomalies.

Because the information wasn’t released until noon Tuesday, the information is still being digested by school officials.

“All of that digging-in is right where principals are right now,” Strakbein said. “They’ll look at every single child and where they ended up on this test, where they predicted they’d end up” – and the trends for each.

One very clear trend is that scores for Hispanic, special education and English Language Learner students are at the lower end of the spectrum. In 2011, 30 percent of Hispanic students scored proficient or advanced, compared to 83 percent of non-Hispanic students.

“If you think about it, it makes sense. If they’re not proficient, they don’t know what’s on the test,” director of assessment and instructional technology Bethany Massey said. “Lectura,” a Spanish reading test, is available, Massey added, but the district opts to test all its students in English because they’re automatically penalized in overall state achievement if Spanish-speaking students are pulled from the testing pool. Instead, district officials opt to use other assessment methods than the state reading test to address student performance and learning needs. It’s a judgment call, Massey said.

Another trend is that vocabulary performance lags behind other reading standards such as fiction/poetry and non-fiction. Targeted professional development is being implemented this summer to bring up that and the non-fiction averages, Massey said.

As teachers and principals work to identify root causes of successes and failures, they’ll look to colleagues across the district for help. For instance, Upper Blue Elementary principal Kerry Buhler is working with staff to not only identify how the school’s scores can improve, they’re also identifying successful practices that might be transferred to other schools. Different techniques will be included in school improvement plans in June, Massey said.

Massey and others are pulling the data apart to identify trends, find significance in how each score changes, see gaps in the subgroups, account for student population changes and more.

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