Steamboat Springs School District administrators Tuesday praised the high test scores of district third-graders on the reading section of the Colorado Student Assessment Program test.
The Colorado Department of Education released the results Tuesday.
The praise came despite a small drop-off in scores from the 2002 results. However, students at both Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools scored well above state averages.
At Strawberry Park Elementary School, 91 percent of third-graders who took the test read at a proficient or advanced level, compared to 93 percent in 2002. Eighty-five percent of Soda Creek third-graders are advanced or proficient readers, compared to 86 percent last year.
Overall, 89 percent of the district's third-graders were judged by the CSAP to read at a proficient or advanced level. Scores at both schools exceeded goals set earlier this year by their respective school accountability committees.
Statewide, 74 percent of third-graders are advanced or proficient readers. Not all third-graders take the standard CSAP test. Some students with severe special education needs qualify for an alternative version of the CSAP; those students' scores were not reflected in the results released Tuesday.
"Once again, third-grade students have shown that they are learning how to read well in Steamboat's public schools," Steamboat Springs School Board President Paul Fisher said in a press release. "Although testing results of this new class of third-graders slipped slightly from last year's class, we are extremely proud of the results placing Steamboat once again in the top echelon of schools in the state."
The percentage of Soda Creek third-graders who read at an advanced level doubled this year, from 10 percent in 2002 to 20 percent in 2003. Soda Creek also had no third-graders reading at unsatisfactory levels, a marked improvement from 2002, when 6 percent of its third-graders were judged by the CSAP to read at an unsatisfactory level.
The improvements thrilled Soda Creek Principal Judy Harris.
"I am so proud of our students, teachers, staff and parents who have worked hard over our third-graders' academic years at Soda Creek Elementary School," Harris said in the press release.
The percentage of advanced readers at Strawberry Park dropped slightly from last year's CSAP results, from 20 percent advanced in 2002 to 16 percent advanced in 2003.
Steamboat Springs Director of Content Standards Kelly Stanford said comparing 2003 results to those of previous years can be misleading because "you're talking about two completely different groups of children."
More important, Stanford said, is that the district now has baseline data to help evaluate student progress over time.
For example, the district will compare next year's fourth-grade results to this year's third-grade results to analyze student achievement over time.
Third grade is the first year of CSAP testing for state students.
Stanford praised the district for its reading programs and its consistency.
"We're a high-performing district," she said. "We'd like to make gains -- we'd always like to make gains -- but it's very difficult to make gains when you're scoring in the 90s."
The CSAP reading test is just one of many reading assessments third-graders take throughout the school year, Stanford said.
"We take (CSAP scores) as one piece of information. We would hope the community also takes this as one piece of information," she said. "There's more to our schools than the CSAP scores."
Hayden School District and South Routt School District third-graders also fared well on the CSAP reading test.
In Hayden, 91 percent of the school's third-graders tested at an advanced or proficient reading level. At South Routt Elementary School, 93 percent of its third-graders read at advanced or proficient levels.
Third-grade CSAP reading results are made available earlier than CSAP results for other grades in order to give school districts, principals, teachers and parents enough time to develop Individual Literacy Plans for third-graders not reading at their grade level, Stanford said.
Individual Literacy Plans are specific to each student and take into account additional reading assessments, Stanford said.
CSAP results for all other grade levels will be available in August.
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