The 2003 Colorado Student Assessment Program test results show that, statewide and in Routt County, students continue to struggle with the math portion of the test.
Only 27 percent of 10th-grade students scored proficient on all parts of the math test. Steamboat Springs High School had among the highest level of proficiency in the state, but still only 41 percent of the school's 10th-graders scored proficient or above on the test.
The number of students proficient in math is significantly below the number of students who scored proficient in other subject areas including reading, writing and science.
"I thought it was really hard," Jenna Hammerslag said of the math test.
Some students felt they weren't prepared for all of the areas covered. "We hadn't gone over half of the material," Stephanie Engle said.
Principal Dave Schmid agreed.
"They were testing kids on some stuff that they hadn't learned yet," Schmid said. "It was a hard test."
The CSAP tests involves word problems and asks students to explain their reasoning.
"The tests that we're used to have general, straightforward problems," junior Kelsey Patterson said. "Many students do problems in their head and aren't used to explaining their reasoning."
Multistep word problems required extensive answers with a step-by-step explanation, resulting in some students finding themselves in unfamiliar territory.
"Problem-solving is hard," Hammerslag said. "And we didn't do a lot of that in class."
Despite such setbacks, Schmid said he believes the students performed well in comparison with their peers across Colorado. Steamboat's 10th-grade math scores ranked 32nd out of the state's 375 high schools.
Though the CSAP is not a graduation requirement and students are not penalized for their performance, Sch-mid said he believes the students worked hard.
"I put a lot of effort into it," said Krista Walters.
Other students said there was not always a lot of incentive to do well on the test.
"I didn't go all out because I'm not going to get graded on them," said junior Chris Heuston.
Patrick Ayers said many students simply "don't think that it matters."
"We all know that it doesn't affect our acceptance to college and isn't put on our transcript," Patterson said.
While a few students said that they would have welcomed some extra preparation, Schmid said that it isn't necessary if the curriculum is on the right track.
"The tests are based on certain standards about what kids should learn," he said. "If our curriculum is reflective of those standards, the scores will come."