Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs RE-2 School District third-graders topped the Colorado average in the Colorado State Assessment Program reading test, according to scores released this week.
Eighty-five percent of third-graders scored in the advanced or proficient levels, well above the state average of 69 percent of students scoring at those levels. Last year, 79 percent of students scored at those levels.
"This year, both schools made nice progress. We're very pleased," Superintendent Cyndy Simms said.
Eighty-three percent of Soda Creek Elementary and 87 percent of Strawberry Park Elementary students scored in the advanced and proficient levels. Sixty-three percent of district third-graders scored at the proficient level and 20 percent were partially proficient.
No students received unsatisfactory scores, a first for the district, Simms said.
Director of Content Standards Judy Harris said that the schools are continuing to improve their primary reading programs and gave credit to all primary-grade teachers, not just the third-grade teachers, for the good results.
Students were tested for three days in March on multiple choice and written-response questions. The C-SAP measures how much an individual student knows, rather than comparing him or her to other students.
"We have to be careful to remember that this is a different group of kids, although we can see some trends," she said.
After several years of working with the Colorado Content Standards, there is a stable focus for teachers and students which may account for the improvement, Harris said.
"There is more alignment between teachers and grade levels," establishing some consistency for the students, she said.
Despite the controversy in Colorado recently about Gov. Bill Owens using the C-SAP tests in his education reform package as one of the factors in grading schools, which many educators disagree with, the Content Standards and C-SAPs are positive, Simms said.
"The standards are a way of setting goals and making us focus and our students are doing better," Simms said.
Harris said the schools are continually trying to improve reading and are piloting a new curriculum-based assessment that allows teachers to gauge each student's progress.
"It tells us where kids are so teachers can challenge those who are reading fluently and remediate those who need help," she said.
Test scores for individual students will be mailed to parents in a few weeks. Fourth- and seventh-grade reading and writing C-SAP scores will be released in July and eighth-grade math and science scores will be released in the fall.
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