Summit School District shines in science and English. Elementary students remain behind in math |

Summit School District shines in science and English. Elementary students remain behind in math

Silverthorne Elementary teacher Liz McFarland high-fives a student on the first day of her fifth-grade class in August 2017. Summit School District elementary students have performed well in science and English on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessment but continue to lag behind the state in math.
Hugh Carey /

FRISCO — The state released the 2019 Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments for the state’s school districts last week, and while Summit continues to beat state averages in science, English and Preliminary SAT and SAT scores, the district’s elementary school students continue to underperform in math.

CMAS is the statewide, standards-based assessments designed to measure student proficiency in Colorado Academic Standards for mathematics, English language science and social studies.

Among CMAS highlights for the district is science, where the district has outperformed state averages for three straight years. The assessments, performed at fifth, eighth and 11th grades, show the district handily outperforming the state, with 41% of fifth graders scoring at levels that meet or exceed expectations versus the 36% state average, 40% of eighth graders versus the 32% average and 35% of 11th graders versus the 21% average.

The school district also met or exceeded state averages for the English language arts from fourth to eighth grades in 2019. However, third grade English language scores continue to lag behind the state for the third year in a row, with 39% of Summit third graders meeting or exceeding expectations versus the 41% state average.

A limited selection of elementary schools participated in the 2019 fourth grade social studies assessment, which included Dillon Valley Elementary, Silverthorne Elementary and Summit Cove Elementary. The elementary schools underperformed against the state average in social studies, 18% to 24%. However, seventh graders outperformed the state average, 26% to 18%.

Summit’s high school students continue to beat the state average when it comes to the PSAT and SAT college readiness exams. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors from Summit High School and Snowy Peaks beat state averages, with Summit 11th graders scoring a full 20 points higher than the state average on the SAT.

But math appears to be Summit School District’s Achilles’ heel. Every grade level from third to sixth scored lower than the state average. It is the third year in a row that Summit’s third and fourth graders scored below state averages.

District superintendent Kerry Buhler acknowledged the district’s subpar elementary school math scores.

“We do need to strengthen our math results, which will be a focus this year with new math curriculum and implementation fidelity districtwide,” Buhler said.

In a news release, the district said it had hired a district math coordinator who will oversee the deployment of a new math program for secondary students. The secondary curriculum, called enVision, matches best teaching practices with problem-based learning. 

District officials said elementary school teachers have trained to teach a new elementary math program, called Eureka Math, and will receive additional professional development around best practices prior to the start of school.

Despite the lower math scores, Buhler highlighted the positives of the year in other subject areas.

“Keeping in mind that these tests are only one measure of a child’s academic achievement and growth, our results exhibit the dedication to academic excellence by our teachers and students as evidenced in PSAT, SAT, science and English language arts results,” Buhler said. “The growth data shows that many of our students are making progress to championing academic success, while the collaboration among content experts and teachers accelerate the growth our students deserve.”

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