Photo by Matt Stensland
Hayden Valley Elementary School third grader Patrick Hunter works in Deborah Schumacher’s class Tuesday. Eighty-three percent of third graders at the school this year scored proficient or advanced in the Colorado State Assessment Program reading test, up from last year’s score of 63 percent.
By the numbers
CSAP reading scores*
*Represent third-graders who were “proficient” or “advanced” in Colorado State Assessment Program reading test
Source: Colorado Department of Education
Steamboat Springs Third-graders in Hayden improved significantly from last year on the state reading test.
The unofficial results of the 2010 Colorado State Assessment Program for third-grade reading were released Tuesday. CSAPs test third- through 10th-grade students annually in reading, writing and math, and in science during fifth, eighth and 10th grades.
Hayden’s third-graders, whose scores increased this year to 83 percent “proficient” or “advanced” from 63 percent, were the only group from Routt County elementary schools to improve on the reading test from last year.
Hayden Valley Elementary School Principal Rhonda Sweetser said she wished could say something changed to improve the scores, but the curriculum and teachers this year remained the same as a year ago.
After Hayden’s third-grade reading results plummeted to 63 percent from 96 percent in 2008, Sweetser said she thinks the school is back on track with this year’s 83 percent.
“It’s not the highest score we’ve ever had, but it’s definitely a huge increase over last year,” she said. “We’re excited about the progress.”
The scores of the Steamboat Springs School District’s Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools decreased on the third-grade reading test from a year ago.
This year, 73 percent of Soda Creek third-graders scored proficient or advanced, down from 85 percent last year. And 86 percent of Strawberry Park third-graders performed at that level, dipping from 93 percent the year before.
Strawberry Park Co-Principal Celia Dunham said one week of the state’s two-week testing window fell during the district’s Blues Break. She said two of the school’s 80 third-graders missed the test, having taken extended vacations with their families. Dunham said the state wouldn’t allow the students to take the test at another time, and they received zeroes.
“When you only have 80 kids, two kids affects your score,” Dunham said.
She said she thinks both students would have scored proficient on the test. Next year, she said, the school will apply for an earlier testing period.
Steamboat Superintendent Shalee Cunningham pointed out that the third-grade reading results are only a snapshot of the entire CSAP but said that she didn’t want to downplay the importance of the test.
“As a superintendent, I’m really a proponent of assessments and the ability we have now to break down the scores and find out where our strengths and weaknesses are,” she said. “We pay close attention to these. I understand it’s a snapshot of one day in the life of third-graders. But we do base staff development and growth opportunities on all of these assessments.”
Cunningham said the district always is disappointed when its scores decrease, but she’s not discouraged.
Steamboat’s third-graders did score higher on the reading exam than the statewide average; 70 percent of Colorado students scored proficient or advanced.
South Routt Elementary School’s third-graders did not reach the state average on the reading test, after making improvements last year in many CSAP categories, including reading.
Last year, 68 percent of South Routt’s third-graders scored at proficient or advanced, up from 48 percent in 2008.
But the number this year fell to 53 percent.
South Routt Elementary Principal Michael Young and Superintendent Scott Mader didn’t return calls seeking comment.
With the results in, now comes the hard part, Dunham said. She said that included looking at each student’s score, what they need to move forward and making those services available.
The Colorado Department of Education said in a statement that it released the third-grade reading results early to comply with the state’s Basic Literacy Act. The official results and scores for the other grades and assessments are scheduled be released in August.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com