Steamboat students’ CSAP scores beat state average
Results mixed in Hayden, South Routt school districts
August 11, 2010
Steamboat Springs — At each school and in each grade, the Steamboat Springs School District exceeded state averages in the 2010 Colorado Student Assessment Program, according to the test results released Tuesday.
But that doesn't mean the district is satisfied, Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said. The district showed growth at some grade levels in reading, writing and math, but its scores decreased at others.
"We're feeling very good with our scores," she said. "With that said, we do see some gaps, some things we need to work to work on."
CSAPs test third- through 10th-grade students annually in reading, writing and math, and in science during fifth, eighth and 10th grades. Students are evaluated by the percentage who score at proficient or advanced levels.
For example, at least 80 percent of Steamboat third- through eighth-graders were proficient or advanced in reading — including 92 percent in the eighth grade, which actually decreased from 94 percent when those students were in the seventh grade the previous year. Statewide, students in those grades scored between 66 and 72 percent proficient or advanced.
Cunningham said the district's administration team has been evaluating the results to determine how to dedicate resources to students to increase achievement levels.
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Hayden School District Superintendent Mike Luppes said teachers would evaluate student scores when they start returning to work next week — Hayden doesn't begin the school year until Sept. 7, after the South Routt and Steamboat school districts start Aug. 24 and 25, respectively.
Luppes said teachers would work on ways to dedicate resources to improve the district's scores, which were down slightly from previous years.
The Hayden district's third- through eighth-grade scores showed increases and decreases in reading and writing but declined in each grade in math. The math scores were as low as 24 percent of students in seventh and 10th grades scoring at proficient or advanced levels.
"We've had some years we've had exceptional scores, some years we've had average scores and years we've had below-average scores," Luppes said. "Some score above where they are. Some score below where they are. It's a snapshot in time, but a good indicator of where the kids are going."
Luppes said he was pleased with the scores from third-graders, who take the tests for the first time. Hayden third-graders scored proficient or advanced at 83 percent in reading, 71 percent in writing and 88 percent in math.
"We hope that's a sign of things to come because they're the first full-day kindergarten to come through," Luppes said.
After making tremendous strides in the 2009 CSAPs, South Routt took a step backward in all three subjects in most grades. On the reading test, only 10th-graders, in which 92 percent of students scored proficient or advanced, an increase from 83 percent the previous year, and sixth-graders saw improvement.
South Routt student scores increased in only one grade each in writing and math, almost the exact opposite of the progress showed in 2009.
"We made such phenomenal gains last year," Superintendent Scott Mader said. "I could have predicted last year that we couldn't keep up those kinds of gains. That would have been unsustainable. We're going to see some ups and downs throughout the years here, but our goal is to go steadily up over the years. I think we'll be able to do that."
Mader said so much of the focus last year in the district was cutting the budget to address reduced state funding and increased costs. He said that detracted from the district's objective of increasing student achievement but that he doesn't want that to be an excuse.
He said this year's scores wouldn't deter the district from reaching its goal of becoming "accredited with distinction" during the next three years.
The state in December will release school and district performance reports, which will illustrate how well districts prepare students for post-secondary educations or the work force. The reports will include data from the Colorado Growth Model, CSAP and ACT scores, and what schools are doing to close achievement gaps and improve graduation rates.
Schools and districts receive grades, the highest being "accredited with distinction."
"We still have that goal and believe we can achieve that," Mader said.