Soroco makes CSAP leaps

Soroco High School, Steamboat Springs Middle School recognized for growth

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2009 CSAP results

At a glance

Basic points of the Colorado Growth Model, a new method for tracking student achievement and skill development. Learn more about the new system at www.schoolview.or...>

- The model shows how individual students and groups of students progress from year to year toward state standards. Each student's progress is compared to the progress of other students in the state with a similar score history (based on the state's unsatisfactory, partially proficient, proficient or advance score categories) on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests in that subject area. That progress is measured by using all available test scores for each student.

- The model also shows which schools and districts show the highest sustained growth from year to year. Those schools may not be the ones with the highest test scores each year.

- A median growth percentile summarizes student growth rates by district, school, grade level or other group of interest. Typical median growth for the state is 50.

- For individual student growth, students with typical growth fall in the 35th to 65th percentile. Students with scores below the 35th percentile are considered to have low growth, and students above the 65th percentile are considered to have high growth.

- The Growth Model assigns each student to one of three categories describing future growth. Students who are "catching up" have scored in unsatisfactory or partially proficient categories in the past and are expected to reach proficiency within three years or by the 10th grade. Students who are "keeping up" have scored in the proficient or advanced categories in the past and have shown growth to continue those scores for three years or through 10th grade. Students who are "moving up" have scored in the proficient category in the past and have shown enough growth to move into the advanced category within three years or by the 10th grade.

Source: Colorado Department of Education, www.schoolview.or...>

— At the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, teachers and administrators with the South Routt School District set a series of quarterly goals. The idea was to improve CSAP writing scores for the district, which had lagged just behind the state average in most grades at the end of 2008.

This year's CSAP test results, released Friday morning, show large percentage leaps in Soroco at almost every grade level - 50 percent of the students who took the test as fourth-graders this spring scored at proficient or advanced levels. In 2008, 24 percent of that same group - sometimes called a "cohort group" - achieved proficient or advanced scores.

"We felt like our efforts really paid off. : That was really, I shouldn't say our total focus, but by far our major emphasis was on writing," said Scott Mader, superintendent of the South Routt School District. South Routt students also posted gains in all but one grade in reading; math results were mixed.

Soroco High School and Steamboat Springs Middle School made the Colorado Department of Education's 2009 list of high-performing schools, also released Friday morning. The 161 schools on the list "demonstrated the highest sustained rates of student academic progress over three consecutive years in Colorado," according to a news release from the Department of Education.

Steamboat Springs Middle School students scored well in most categories, with 94 percent of seventh-grade students achieving proficient or advanced scores in reading. Principal Tim Bishop said he is pleased to see his school on a list that measures growth.

"I was very : impressed and excited that our school, being a very high-achieving school, was also recognized in this new model of sustaining growth over the past three years," Bishop said.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Kevin Taulman said he saw improvement in all but one area in his school's scores. In a grade-by-grade comparison, scores in every area except ninth-grade reading improved from 2008 to 2009. Goals for the 2008-09 school year included improving math scores and closing the gap between male and female students on the writing test; the school met both goals, Taulman said.

Hayden High School students scored higher in reading than those "cohort groups" scored in 2008. Hayden seventh- and 10-graders scored higher in writing than they had in 2008.

Measuring growth

The Department of Education also rolled out a new system of measuring student growth and achievement Friday. The Colorado Growth Model - a statistical model that's been in the works for years - measures each student's progress toward state standards from year to year.

A Web portal related to the new model will fill in for the former School Accountability Report, which used CSAP scores and other factors to rate a school low, average or high. Those ratings are replaced by a wide array of growth statistics and test scores now accessible at www.schoolview.org.

Mader said the new growth model gives parents access to detailed progress reports for their children.

"Each teacher can pull that up on their screen during a parent-teacher conference and show those individual parents those individual scores from their student," Mader said. The data also shows if a student is trending up or down.

"That alerts a parent to, 'My kid is doing just great,' or, 'We need to do something to help,'" Mader said. CSAP scores will continue to offer levels of advanced, proficient, partially proficient or unsatisfactory for each student. Those levels are important, Mader said. What the growth model offers is a way to measure if a student has achieved a year's worth of growth during the year, he said.

Taulman said he sees benefit in the model, and expects some questions about what Colorado Growth Model results - which include a growth percentage for each student in each testing category, along with median growth standards across school districts and demographic groups - mean for schools.

"One thing is we want to have kids start taking their own ownership in their own growth, and that means taking ownership of their own education," Taulman said. Looking at scores on the growth model, a student might be able to see at what percentage they need to grow if they are behind, he said.

The Department of Education places typical median growth for a school at 50. Growth percentages for 2009 for all grades combined in Routt County schools are: 54 (reading), 46 (writing) and 53 (math) in Soroco; 39 (reading), 50 (writing) and 40 (math) in Hayden; and 58 (reading), 56 (writing) and 53 (math) in Steamboat.

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