CSAP scores get mixed reviews

Soroco students do well in reading, writing but falter in math

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— Soroco 10th-graders scores on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests were all well below the state average, while fourth, fifth and sixth graders scored well.

The tests, which were taken in the spring, covered reading, writing and math. Fourth through 10th grade students took the reading test; fourth, seventh and 10th grade students took writing tests; and fifth, eighth and 10th grade students took the math tests.

Percent of students who scored 'proficient' and above Grade Test Soroco State 4 Reading 87 63 5 Reading 63 64 6 Reading 80 63 7 Reading 82 63 8 Reading 69 63 9 Reading 62 63 10 Reading 39 63 4 Writing 63 38 7 Writing 61 41 10 Writing 19 44 5 Math 47 51 8 Math 33 37 10 Math 0 14

Depending on results, students are graded as above proficient, proficient, below proficient and unsatisfactory.

"I"m actually pretty excited," South Routt School Superintendent Steve Jones said.

Fourth graders, who will be fifth graders this fall, scored 87 percent proficient in reading, compared to the state average of 63 percent. Those students also scored 63 percent in writing, compared to the state's average result of 38 percent.

Seventh graders last spring also did well, scoring 82 percent proficient in reading, compared to the state's 63 percent, and 61 percent in writing, compared to the state's 41 percent.

Jones also pointed out fifth graders were 63 percent proficient in reading, which is just one percentage point below the state average of 64 percent.

"Last year, that group only had 53 percent proficient, compared to 62 percent by the state," Jones said. "So we are making progress with those kids and that's exactly what we want to be doing."

The students that had the most difficult time with the Colorado Student Assessment Program (C-SAP) tests were 10th graders, who will be juniors next year.

Those students were taking the tests for the first time and scored below the state average in all three subjects. Tenth grade reading scores were 39 percent proficient, while the state's average score was 63 percent; writing scores were at 19 percent compared to the state's 44 percent; and math scores showed zero percent proficient compared to the state's 14 percent.

The math score was most disturbing, Jones said, with 57 percent of 10th graders from Soroco scoring unsatisfactory.

"I think math is a concern all the way through the district," he said.

However, Soroco 10th graders aren't alone in math; 69 10th grade classes around the state scored a zero proficiency rating on the math test.

Tenth grade English teacher George King said he will probably adjust his class, since the 10th grade test results were so low.

"My first impression, I said, 'Oh my gosh," King said, recalling his reaction when he pulled up the scores on the Internet last week.

"I do feel like I have to begin teaching to the test because you can't just let the scores sit out there," he said.

The biggest fear most teachers have about teaching to the test is that they will loose their personal style of teaching and could overlook course elements they believe are important for their students to learn but aren't on the state standardized tests, King said.

"I still think it takes far more than this test to shape a young person and make them confident," he said.

Part of a teacher's job is to teach self discipline and self security, which are difficult to measure on a written test and could be overlooked if teaching strategies were strictly focused on C-SAP results, King said.

Plus, bad test results may not always reflect bad skill in a subject. One reason students do poorly on CSAP tests is they don't have any incentive to do well on the test, much less even take it, King added.

"It's kind of like telling kids to clean my bathroom and then wax the car," he said. "The kids know it doesn't have an affect on them if they don't take the test."

Essentially, the school and the administration are the ones who feel the effects of the test results.

The concept of CSAP's standardized tests is to set a bar for students and teachers to shoot for when it comes to education. In four years, schools must get 80 percent of the students to score proficient marks on the tests, which cover math, reading, writing and science. If not, the school would be at risk of being taken over by the state.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@steamboatpilot.com

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