Third-graders Ellery Hodges, left, and Margaret Redfern read a book together in May in Shannon Forbes' class at Soda Creek Elementary School. Students in Steamboat Springs posted strong scores on the 2013 TCAP.

Scott Franz/file

Third-graders Ellery Hodges, left, and Margaret Redfern read a book together in May in Shannon Forbes' class at Soda Creek Elementary School. Students in Steamboat Springs posted strong scores on the 2013 TCAP.

TCAP scores a mixed bag for Routt County school districts

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— The Steamboat Springs School District is pleased.

South Routt again is digesting a mixed bag.

Hayden can tout the most improvement.

From the long Excel spreadsheets that display the results of the 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, each school district in Routt County can pull out a different story.

In Steamboat, it's a story of a district that continues to see its students outperform the state averages in every subject and grade level.

In South Routt, it's more of a challenge.

A vast majority of grade levels in the district performed below their peers across the state.

And in Hayden, it's a story of gradual improvement.

Students in several grade levels there saw improvement on the reading, writing and math portions of the test, but students in the secondary schools mostly didn't match the state averages.

With the release of the scores from the state's standardized test, educators in all of the districts will digest the data and use it to tweak their curricula.

Steamboat Springs

There were no surprises in Steamboat's annual TCAP scores.

And that's a good thing, Curriculum Director Marty Lamansky said.

“When you look at the gap between us and the state averages, you can safely say virtually all districts in the state would be very happy with these scores,” he said.

In all grade levels and subjects, Steamboat students scored from eight to 32 points above the state average.

Lamansky said the high performance is a reflection of the district's quality staff and educational programs.

Indeed, the high scores come as the district has maintained its streak of earning the state's highest accreditation rating three years in a row.

But as they always do when the trove of scores is released each year, district officials said there is room to improve, especially on the math test.

Only 47 percent of sophomores in the district scored at a proficient or advanced level in this subject.

Lamansky said that although the score still is 13 points higher than the state average, it's nowhere near where the district wants it to be.

“We just are digging into all of these to look at the very small things we can do to improve our instruction overall,” he said.

South Routt

Soroco Superintendent Scott Mader reacted to this year's TCAP results in the same manner he did last year's.

“Some scores are up. Some scores are down,” he said.

Then, he pointed out how the scores in smaller districts like Hayden and Soroco are more volatile each year because of the smaller class sizes.

The results of just a few students' performance year after year can cause a wild swing in the data, he said.

When sixth-graders in the district took the math portion of the test last year, 68 percent scored at a proficient or advanced level, but only 37 percent of this year's seventh-graders scored at those levels.

By comparison, Steamboat's scores in math from sixth to seventh grade dropped five points this year.

Taken as a whole, South Routt's TCAP scores leave much room for improvement.

No grades in the district scored higher than the state average on the writing test.

Only the students in grades seven and nine outperformed their peers in the state in reading, and only sophomores met the state average in math.

Hayden

Like South Routt's scores, the marks in Hayden this year remain a mixed bag.

The district can celebrate its students' performance on the reading portion of the test where a majority of grade levels scored above the state average.

A majority of grades also saw significant improvements in the writing portion of the test, but most of the district's middle and high schoolers didn't score at a proficient or advanced level in math.

In recent years, the district has revamped its curriculum in response to the test scores.

In preparation for the 2011-12 school year, the district worked with a consultant from Adams State University in Alamosa.

2013 Routt County TCAP results

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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