CSAP’s silver lining | VailDaily.com

CSAP’s silver lining

Don Rogers

Taken all together, Eagle County’s latest state student assessment scores pretty much track in the long tradition of average in a state that’s about average in the nation. As our kids improve their scores, so does the rest of the state, and so goes the nation, too. A step up here and a step up there, and pretty soon you have real progress. But is that a reflection of students becoming more skilled and better thinkers – or just better test takers? Ah, the tough questions.Separated by ethnicity, the figures show that the comparatively wealthier white students actually score quite well compared to the state average. They generally scored in the mid- to high 80s in percentage of students in the “proficient” to advanced range in reading compared to state scores in the 50s.The poorer Hispanic children, many of whom primarily speak Spanish at home, predictably fall much lower, in the 40-30 percentile ranges in reading.The spread between white and Hispanic is about the same in the math scores, though all are quite a bit lower across the board.The language and demographic barriers between largely white U.S. natives and the high number of Hispanic immigrants make for quite a gulf. But judging by the scores of the white students, the claim that they are held back by the Hispanic students does not seem to stand up. Our best students can and do go on to places like Harvard. And the school district takes up the challenge of educating students who arrive here not speaking English or even literate in their native tongue. It’s a big job, one that transcends nativist philosophy at the low end and manages to prepare the brightest for the top colleges in the world at the other. Our school district actually is better than you might think. Vail, Colorado

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