Steamboat Springs No. 2 pencils will be in demand during the next two weeks as students undertake a series of standardized tests.
Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden students in grades three through 10 are scheduled to take Colorado Student Assessment Program tests in math, reading and writing by the time the testing window closes April 15. Many students have taken some of the tests already, but the next two weeks serve as the primary testing period for each county school district.
In Yampa, South Routt Elementary School students began testing two weeks ago. After a week off for spring break, the school's third- through sixth-graders will begin testing again today. Testing will continue through Thursday and pick up again next week, Principal Kim Rabon said.
"The kids seem really relaxed and excited about them," Rabon said. "There doesn't seem to be any doom and gloom this year."
But Rabon admits CSAP tests can be stressful for school staff and students. Schools often go to great lengths to create testing schedules that optimize student performance while providing sufficient time to allow regular classroom learning to continue.
"We try to make the best of it," Rabon said. "It's just one piece of our day. We let the students know it's important and for them to do their best."
In Hayden, middle school and high school Principal Troy Zabel said one of the biggest challenges facing educators is finding a way to motivate students to do their best on CSAP tests and other assessments. The district has formed a committee to look at ways to make the tests meaningful for its students.
Hayden middle school and high school students will test today, Wednesday and Thursday and again next week, Zabel said.
Each Steamboat school has its own testing schedule, but students at all four schools will be taking CSAP tests this week and next week, said Kelly Stanford, director of curriculum and instruction.
Students subject to CSAP testing should be well rested, eat nutritious breakfasts and arrive at school on time, Stanford said. She also encouraged parents to keep their children's routines normal during CSAP testing periods.
The state requires all public schools to administer CSAP tests. The tests are designed to measure student achievement in relationship to the state's model content standards. The content standards are expectations specifying what students should know at particular points in their education. CSAP test scores are a major factor in how schools are rated in the state's annual School Accountability Reports. In Routt County, CSAP test scores don't affect a student's grades.
All students in grades three through 10 are tested in math, reading and writing. Eighth-graders also are tested in science. Parents have the right to opt their children out of CSAP tests, but the state expects all students to take the tests.
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