Edith Teter Elementary students earn high scores on CSAP tests
FAIRPLAY – The February 2003 scores for third-grade reading tests from the Colorado Student Assessment Program have been tallied and show that 94 percent of the Park County RE-2 Edith Teter Elementary third graders are proficient or advanced-level readers.
Of the 32 students taking the test, one returned an unsatisfactory test level, placing the school’s proficiency level 20 percentage points above the state average of 74 percent and well above last year’s score of 86 percent.
In the past five years, the school’s third-grade reading scores have increased from 57 percent in 1998 to this year’s 94 percent.
Over the same time period, the state third-grade averages have gone from 66 percent proficient or advanced readers to the current average of 74 percent.
Principal Cindy Peratt credited the increases to the school’s Partners Assisting Literacy for Students, or PALS, program, in which adults from the community volunteer an hour per week with individual students to assist with their reading.
“The children get so enthused with having a PAL to work with,” she said.
“But it’s really hard to say just what has triggered the 7 percent increases this year; there are a number of contributing factors,” Peratt said.
She also complimented early preparation for reading in the community’s preschool programs and the skill of the Title I program teacher, Yvonne Herbert.
The school has adopted a practice of opening the school day with a 90-minute literacy session in which children read level-specific books and can receive individual assistance. Students also are given a weekly session in the library, learning to select appropriate books and developing library skills.
Within the class, teachers emphasize the state standards to be tackled for the day, and the pupils keep a weekly planner outlining their goals for mastering the skills.
“The standards are a road map,” Peratt said.
The school also maintains a literacy lab, or teacher resource center, with additional materials to strengthen teaching strategies and find child-specific resources to address each student’s learning style and interests.
“If a child is having a rough time, the teacher can go to the lab and perhaps find a report of a technique that has worked in a similar situation or perhaps books that will trigger that child’s particular interest,” Peratt said.
The students’ scores put Edith Teter Elementary, the oldest continuously operating school in Colorado, in the same company with a number of larger and more affluent schools like Aspen Elementary, Cherry Hills Elementary, Broadmoor Elementary in Colorado Springs and Georgetown Elementary, all scoring in the middle 90th percentile.
This year’s scores for Edith Teter Elementary also surpass those of schools in surrounding communities such as Summit County, Chaffee County’s Buena Vista and Park County’s Platte Canyon.
Although the tiny charter schools of Guffy and Lake George were included in the RE-2 District’s overall score of 87 percent, the number of third-grade students in each school taking the test is too low to give a true picture of school performance.
While the state does include the test results in the overall scores for each district, it does not give detailed reports for school performance for schools with fewer than 16 students taking the test. If only one student out of three third-graders scores poorly, the total percentage could reflect a poor score, even if the school’s performance is actually good.
The third grade scores, released on May 6, are the first reports of the overall CSAP tests given to Colorado students in grades 3 through 10 each year.
The Colorado Department of Education expects to release results of April tests given in other subjects and to the other grades sometime in June.
Statewide reading tests for third graders are given early in the year to allow for earlier evaluation of student performance, according to the requirements of the Literacy Act of 1996. According to records dating from 1998, scores for Colorado’s third-graders have steadily improved across all races and abilities.
Education Commissioner Bill Moloney commented in a memo to all Colorado principals that “these results reflect the hard work of thousands of dedicated teachers. We see again that lifting achievement for all youngsters is a team effort.”
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