Girls outscore boys in reading, writing

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— Steamboat Springs girls scored better than boys on standardized reading and writing tests this spring, consistent with a split seen across the state.
In reading, 90 percent of Steamboat's fourth-grade girls scored at or above proficiency, compared to 81 percent of fourth-grade boys. Seventh-grade girls scored 2 percent higher than the boys in reading, at 77 and 75 percent, respectively.
In writing, local girls pulled even farther in front of the boys. Sixty-three percent of fourth-grade girls scored at or above proficiency, while the boys came in 14 percent behind at 49 percent. The gap between seventh-grade girls and boys widened even more in writing to 24 percent as 76 percent of the girls scored at or above proficiency, compared to 52 percent of boys.
"We're certainly looking at the needs of all of the kids," said Judy Harris, the director of content standards for the Steamboat Springs RE-2 School District. "(The difference) is cause to stop and think about our instructional strategies."
Across Colorado, 65 percent of fourth-grade girls scored at or above proficiency compared to 59 percent of boys. In writing, it was 43 percent of the girls to 30 percent of the boys. At the seventh-grade level, 64 percent of girls were proficient or advanced in reading compared to 53 percent of boys.
In writing, the seventh-grade girl-boy difference was 49 to 36 percent.
Besides differences in gender, the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests also showed a difference in scores between Steamboat's elementary schools.
Eighty-eight percent of Soda Creek's fourth-graders scored at or above proficiency in reading in the spring of 2000, compared to Strawberry Park's 82 percent.
Soda Creek's fourth-grade scores increased by 5 percent from 1999; Strawberry Park's 2000 scores increased by 1 percent from 1999.
In writing, 57 percent of Strawberry Park's fourth-graders scored at or above proficiency, compared to Soda Creek's 53 percent. Both schools increased by about the same percentages from 1999. Strawberry Park raised its fourth-grade writing scores by 4 percent and Soda Creek's went up by 3 percent.
"We're working out and defining common expectations throughout the district," Harris said.
The Steamboat School District piloted the Curriculum-Based Assessment program in reading this year as an internal assessment of the schools.
The program is meant to monitor kindergarten through second-graders in the district to make sure that students don't get behind in reading in the early stages of their education, Harris said.
At the state level, test scores for blacks and Hispanics improved at a greater rate than the general population, but that type of comparison was not made at the Steamboat level.
"We have such a small number of other ethnic groups that they don't break out those numbers for us," Harris said.

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