Columnist: St. Clare’s students test well |

Columnist: St. Clare’s students test well

Peggy Warner
Vail CO, Colorado

As principal of St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School, I regularly get two questions from prospective parents about student testing: “Why do you use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, (ITBS) not the Colorado Student Assessment Program(CSAP)?” and “How can I compare the two tests?”

Simply put, these two tests have different purposes, and their results really can’t be compared. The CSAP is given to determine Colorado students’ academic proficiency in reading, writing, math, and science. This measures each student’s performance against state standards which are only given in broad performance catagories: Advanced, Proficient, Partially Proficient, and Unsatisfactory.

The ITBS is a test given annually to students across the United States. This test measures what students know, not necessarily what they have learned in school that year. It tests a wider spectrum of knowledge in subject matters. Rather than testing levels of mastery of state standards, the ITBS reports students’ knowledge of English language use, math concepts, problem solving, social studies, science, geography and map use. This test allows us to track students’ progress by following their results, reported as grade equivalency. This test compares each student’s ability to other students all over the country. Rather than documenting that we are meeting state standards, we are documenting that our academics are far above what is expected and happening around the U.S.

ITBS test results at St. Clare are very high. Every year, class progress increases more than the expected one full grade level. Student progress of more than a year can be attributed to the effectiveness of our teachers and the quality of our school experience.

One example is the current seventh-grade class. As second-graders, this class tested at a 3.5 grade equivalency. This means they performed one year above expected second grade performance nationally.

– The same class during their fifth grade year had scores at 7.5 grade equivalency, except science, which was at 9.0.

– As sixth-graders last year, the students tested at an average of two-and-a-half years ahead of sixth-grade level performance nationally, at a grade equivalency of 9.0. Science scores jumped up to 10.2, almost four years ahead of their grade level.

St. Clare is committed to a well-rounded education. We believe that our high academic standards are just one part of educating the whole child. St. Clare students learn to care for each other, their community, and their world. Our promise to each student is confidence that they will experience a more complete development and unsurpassed academic and personal success.

Peggy Warner is the principal of St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School. E-mail comments about this column to

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