Steamboat Springs Significant declines at Hayden Valley Elementary School on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests overshadowed progress made at the middle and high school, district officials said.
"Just looking at them, it's a little bit more of a mixed bag than we had in the past," Superintendent Mike Luppes said. "There are strong areas, and there are areas to work on. We are not unhappy with them, but definitely there are some areas to take a look at and improve."
Hayden Valley fourth-graders had no room for improvement this year after every student scored proficient or advanced in reading last year. As the students moved to fourth grade in 2007, their scores declined 34 points.
Luppes said district officials prefer to compare student scores from year to year, which are called cohort groups, rather than by grade level. For example, the math scores of fifth-graders are compared to their scores last year as fourth-graders.
Using that method of comparison, other notable decreases were also reported. Math scores for fifth-graders dropped from 91 percent advanced or proficient the previous year to 59 percent this year.
The CSAP scores revealed nearly every cohort group at Hayden Valley reported decreases in academic achievement when compared to previous year's test scores. The only exception to the trend was sixth-grade writing, where scores improved three points from their fifth-grade year at Hayden Valley.
"What we also try to do is look at how did they compare to the state average last year and how they compare this year," Luppes said. "Some of our scores that we are not as pleased with : have shown improvement (when compared to the state average) from the year before."
Despite the 34-point decline in reading from third to fourth grade, Hayden Valley fourth-graders continue to outperform the state average by three points. Overall, students in the district outperformed the state average in 16 of 26 categories.
Of the 12 cohort groups at Hayden Middle School and Hayden High School, nine improved upon their previous year's scores.
Hayden High School Principal Troy Zabel said he is pleased with his school's achievement.
"The scores show the hard work and dedication and talent of our staff is paying off," he said. "We had growth in almost all areas, from year-to-year comparisons to comparing cohorts."
The only two declines, when looking at cohort groups, were in ninth- and 10th-grade math. However, both ninth-graders and 10th-graders scored higher than the state average.
"We are also very pleased with science scores," Zabel said. "Last year, we were almost 10 points below the state average. This year, we are four points above."