Steamboat schools post record gains on 3rd-grade reading test |

Steamboat schools post record gains on 3rd-grade reading test

Hayden results improve; South Routt scores down

Morgan Graham, a third-grader at Soda Creek Elementary School, reads Wednesday afternoon during class. Steamboat's third-graders posted record scores on this year's state reading test.
Scott Franz

— Shortly after recess Wednesday, Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Michele Miller told more than 100 third-graders that they made history.

"We're sending your parents emails about your accomplishment," Miller said about her students' record-breaking performance this year on the state reading test.

The announcement quickly sent a wave of excitement through the crowd of students, who clapped and cheered.

Third-graders at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools saw big gains this year on the reading portion of the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, which they finished taking in March.

The preliminary results from the inaugural third-grade reading test were released Tuesday, and the marks showed Steamboat's students made some big gains compared with last year's Colorado Student Assessment Program scores and once again exceeded the state average.

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The TCAP and CSAP scores are comparable, Steamboat Curriculum Director Marty Lamansky said.

"I think (our reading scores) really speak loudly to the hard work our elementary schools have put into coordinating their instructional programming," Lamansky said. "This is fantastic news."

Specifically, 92 percent of the district's third-graders scored at a proficient or advanced level on the test compared with 83 percent last year and 81 percent in 2010, according to the Colorado Department of Education. Soda Creek saw 90 percent of its third-graders score proficient and advanced, and Strawberry Park saw 95 percent of its students reach those levels. Both schools scored well above the state average of 74 percent.

"I attribute it to the dedication and talent of this staff and the hardworking kids and parents," Miller said. "To be that far ahead of the state average is great for us. The next step is to look at who was proficient and who wasn't and start planning for fourth grade so they can hit the ground running."

Third-graders in Hayden also saw their performance on the test improve; 82 percent of students there were graded proficient or advanced this year. That's a slight increase from the 78 percent of third-graders who met those thresholds last year.

In South Routt, the scores were lower.

The percentage of third-graders who scored proficient and advanced dropped from 83 percent last year to 67 percent on the most recent test. But South Routt Elementary School Principal Raylene Olinger said she wasn't disappointed in the scores. She attributed the drop to her school's small class sizes.

"We were one student away from making the state average," she said, adding that she expected volatility in the scores because the school had only 21 students take the test. "When you look at the scores individually, I'm actually pretty happy with the results."

Third- through 10th-grade students are tested annually in reading, writing and math. Fifth-, eighth- and 10th-graders also are tested in science. Lamansky said the rest of the TCAP test results will be released this summer.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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