Steamboat CSAP scores return to 2005 levels after dip last year

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Piper Rillos, right, and Lark Skov work on a writing assignment during Allyson Kopatz's third-grade class at Strawberry Park Elementary School on Thursday. The third-graders at Strawberry Park Elementary this year scored higher on the recent CSAPS tests than last year.

— The scores achieved by Steamboat Springs third-graders on standardized reading tests rebounded this year, according to unofficial test results released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Education.

Colorado Student Assessment Program results for third-graders at Strawberry Park Elementary School and Soda Creek Elementary School show that, after a dip in reading scores last year, both schools are back to success levels seen in 2005. But third-grade reading scores are lower than last year in Hayden and especially in South Routt, where success rates fell below the state average.

Strawberry Park has the highest third-grade reading scores in Routt County.

Of the 87 third-graders at Strawberry Park who took the reading CSAP in February, 83 earned scores of either "proficient" or "advanced," meaning 95 percent of the students tested successfully. Last year, 85 percent of Strawberry Park Elementary School third-graders scored proficient or advanced. This year's percentage marks a near-return to the school's 2005 mark of 97 percent.

At Soda Creek, 52 of 62 third-graders - or 84 percent - scored proficient or advanced. That percentage also marks a return to 2005 levels after a dip last year. Soda Creek third-graders had a 75 percent success rate last year, compared to 84 percent in 2005.

"We're very, very pleased with the results," Donna Howell, superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District, said Thursday. "I think at both of our (elementary) schools, the principals and teachers have really focused their instruction, and the students are picking up the skills and knowledge they need."

School Board member John DeVincentis criticized Howell when scores dipped last year, saying "hers is not a plan to improve our educational system." He did not return calls seeking comment on this year's scores.

Statewide, 71 percent of Colorado third-graders scored advanced or proficient on this year's reading CSAP, up slightly from 70 percent in 2006.

Success for third-graders in both Hayden and South Routt dipped this year.

Of the 27 third-graders who took reading tests at Hayden Valley Elementary School, 21 scored proficient or advanced, or 78 percent. Last year, all 23 Hayden third-graders tested successfully, for a 100 percent tally.

In 2005, CSAP scores for 46 Hayden students were miscalculated due to a coding error that skewed scores in the district.

Hayden Valley administrator Rhonda Sweetser could not be reached Thursday.

Of the 28 third-graders who took reading tests this year at South Routt Elementary School in Yampa, 17 scored proficient or advanced, or 60 percent. South Routt third-graders had an 89 percent success rating in 2006, following a 71 percent tally in 2005.

"We're not happy with that," Kelly Reed, superintendent of the South Routt School District, said of this year's scores. "Our goal is to have 100 percent proficiency, and we're not there this year. We have some things we have to work on."

Reed said he is working with Michael Young, who is in his first year as principal of South Routt Elementary, to assess the CSAP data and pinpoint specific needs for students.

That strategy has worked well in Steamboat.

"We're really continuing our efforts to use information to enhance instruction, so students achieve at a high level," Howell said, noting that in addition to CSAPs, Steamboat students take district-wide assessments in reading, writing and math throughout the academic year.

The CSAP "becomes one piece of a larger body of evidence that we use to help direct instruction," Howell said. "Schools are administering other assessments right along with CSAPs."

Third-grade reading results were not available Thursday for the seven tested third-graders at North Routt Community Charter School in Clark.

CSAP results for other grades and subject areas will be released in early August. Tuesday's results are pending official state confirmation, which will be released in August with the remaining CSAP results.

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