Letter to the editor: McGahey gets it wrong again on Summit test scores | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: McGahey gets it wrong again on Summit test scores

Bruce Menzel

Kim McGahey got it wrong, again! In his Oct. 11 Summit Daily News conservative opinion piece, he charged the Summit School District Board of Education with failure. He referenced an Aug. 29 Summit Daily article about Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests. His conclusions were: Summit School District is now a below-average Colorado academic system, with only a minority of its students performing at grade level. These views don’t match with what I took away from the article.

So using data in the same annual CMAS reports that the article used, I’ve performed a simple test to ask whether McGahey’s criticism is valid. But I used a different criterion from those cited in that article. I based my examination on mean (average) test scores rather than CMAS-calculated “expectations.” I prefer my approach because it uses primary data. Otherwise, my analysis was like that of the Summit Daily article: Most data was from years 2017, 2018 and 2019, with focus on English language arts, mathematics and science tests. The question I asked was, “Are Summit School District average test scores less than, equal to or greater than comparable state averages?” For English, I found that in a remarkable 17 of 18 comparisons, Summit students performed equal to or better than the state average. In math and science, Summit students performed equal to or better than state averages in 15 of 26 comparisons. These results generally agree with those from the article.

My interpretation is that, contrary to McGahey’s view, Summit students receive continuing high-quality educations. I also realize, however, that American education has fallen into a deep hole because of COVID-19, but I am comforted by knowing that Summit County has a dedicated and highly competent superintendent, school board, teachers and staff who are up to the challenge ahead.

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