State releases student growth scores from PARCC exams |

State releases student growth scores from PARCC exams

A kindergartner works in her classroom at the South Routt Elementary School in Yampa last November.

— Student growth scores for local school districts, an important data point for teachers and administrators, were released for the first time in two years last week.

The scores show whether the same cohort of students has made progress from one year to the next, as opposed to previously released proficiency scores, which show how a particular grade level class compared to a previous class tested at that level.

“The growth scores are important, because they give us a really strong indicator for how far our students are moving in their overall learning,” said Marty Lamansky, Steamboat Springs School District director of teaching and learning.

Students are compared on how well they performed from one year to the next alongside other students statewide who had similar scores in the first year.

High-performing students are compared to other high-performing students to assess their progress, and special education students, minorities and other subgroups are also compared to their peers.

Growth scores are only available in English and math, as those are the only subjects tested in successive years. The scores weren’t available in 2015, because that was the first year students took the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams, though growth scores were studied in previous years when students took other exams, Lamansky said.

Overall, students in Steamboat Springs fared well when measured in terms of growth, with most grade levels reporting well above median average growth compared to other districts in the state. Two exceptions were sixth-grade English and ninth-grade math, in which students showed less progress than their peers on other parts of the state..

Subpopulations, such as Hispanic students or gifted students, also progressed more than similar students, statewide.

Detailed breakdowns of the scores are available on the Colorado Department of Education website,

In South Routt, growth scores illustrate that, while student proficiency remains at or below state average, many students made strides in performance from 2015 to 2016.

In terms of growth, South Routt students fell below state median average scores in seventh- and eighth-grade English and fifth- and eighth-grade math, but remained well above state median averages in other subjects and grades.

Ninth-grade students grew their knowledge base significantly, scoring at the 77th percentile in English and the 80th percentile in intermediate math I.

“That’s exceptional,” South Routt’s new data assessment coordinator Rim Watson told school board members last week.

Watson said the district should strive to remain above state averages in growth.

In Hayden, growth scores showed that, while some students are making progress, others are not.

Fourth-grade students progressed at a much slower rate than similar students, statewide, meaning low-scoring students achieved low scores two years in a row, without making much progress compared to other similar-scoring students statewide.

Growth scores for sixth, seventh and eighth grade were above state averages throughout the district, however, showing that many students are making progress.

Hayden district teachers are in the midst of professional development in deep curriculum alignment in an effort to improve test scores.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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