First batch of 2016 student assessment results released
Steamboat Springs — District and school scores for the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, science exams show Steamboat Springs students continue to perform above state averages, while their peers in smaller districts nearby have varied results.
Students in grades five, eight and 11 took the science exams in the spring. All third- through ninth-grade students were tested in English and math, and one-third of schools tested fourth- and seventh-grade students in social studies.
All state-level results and district results for science only were released Thursday, along with results for the Colorado ACT and PSAT college-prep exams.
In the Steamboat Springs School District, 65 percent of fifth-grade students and 57 percent of eighth-grade students met or exceeded expectations on the science exam, compared to 30 percent and 24 percent, respectively, at the state level. Students in both grades performed better than district students who took the test in 2015.
“These results are one indicator of the teamwork of teachers, staff, administration, parents and community members in making sure that we do the very best we can to educate our students,” said Marty Lamansky, district director of teaching and learning.
Only 37 11th-grade students, or about 20 percent, took the science exam, with about 30 percent meeting or exceeding expectations, a figure still above the state average of 24 percent for 11th grade.
Statewide participation rates declined as grade level went up, with only 58 percent of 11th-grade students statewide taking the exam.
On the Colorado ACT test, which tests in four subjects and is taken by all juniors, Steamboat Springs students earned a composite score of 22.2 points on a 36-point scale, compared to 20.4 points on average statewide.
For the PSAT, Steamboat Springs students had an average score of 1,032 on the exam’s 1,520 point scale, compared to a 944 average for students statewide.
South Routt students improve
In the South Routt School District, 21 percent of fifth-grade students and 30 percent of eighth-grade students met or exceeded expectations in science, a drop of a few percentage points over last year’s scores.
Despite the lower scores, Superintendent Darci Mohr pointed out that the district’s mean scale scores for students actually improved by 10 points in fifth grade and 14 points in eighth grade, showing that lower-performing students earned higher scores on the test this year. The district’s eighth-grade mean score of 626 was well above the state’s mean score of 584.
Student numbers were too low in 11th grade to be released publicly.
“In a nutshell, we increased the performance of our low-end students by a significant amount at both fifth and eighth grades and our fifth- and eighth-graders’ mean scale score are above similar neighboring districts,” Mohr said. “South Routt Elementary School had a mean scale score 27 points higher than four of the Eagle County elementary schools and Hayden Valley Elementary.”
On the ACT, South Routt students had an average composite score of 19.8, and students scored above the state average in science, specifically.
On the PSAT, South Routt students had an average score of 958, above the state average.
Data helps Hayden focus
Low student scores on the science exam come at a time when district leaders in Hayden already are working to revamp district curriculum in an effort to better prepare students for tests such as CMAS.
In Hayden, 18.5 percent of fifth-grade students met or exceeded expectations in science, while 25 percent of eighth-grade students met or exceeded expectations.
“Our students continue to make progress in content knowledge, but we, as a school system, have not done enough to prepare them to demonstrate that knowledge in the increased requirements of PARCC, which also measures context and cognitive type understanding,” said Phil Kasper, Hayden School District superintendent.
Kasper said district staff last week was being trained in the curriculum improvement process of Deep Curriculum Alignment.
“This process will improve our skills in understanding how to scaffold our instruction to meet the increased demands of the state’s PARCC assessment, which now measures not only base knowledge, but includes measuring a student’s ability to demonstrate an understanding of content, context and cognitive types,” Kasper said.
On the ACT, Hayden students had an average composite score of 18.7. On the PSAT, students had an average score of 883.
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At a town hall meeting in Steamboat Springs in June, Sen. Bob Rankin had some advice for local officials.