Eagle County Schools see improvement in tests | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Schools see improvement in tests

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY – Edwards Elementary and Gypsum Creek Middle are two of the top 161 “high performing schools” in the state, according to the latest Colorado Student Assessment Program results.

The state released results of the Colorado Student Assessment Program, known as CSAP, Friday, and the Eagle County School District improved scores in many categories in grades three through 10.

Eagle County Schools’ scores were up in reading, writing and math overall, but slightly down in science. The standardized tests also track English-proficient students’ progress, with Eagle County English-proficient students scoring higher than state averages in every grade level and category, except 10th-grade math, which was even with state averages.

Four grade levels – fourth, fifth, eighth and 10th – didn’t score as well as last year in both reading and writing. Grades five and 10 were also down overall in math scores.

Brooke Skjonsby, school district spokeswoman, said drops in scores usually mean that students aren’t getting the individualized attention they need – something the school district hopes to solve through its Closing the Achievement Gap project, which began last year.

The project uses the CSAP tests, monthly “benchmark tests” and twice-a-year evaluations to gauge how students are doing and how teachers can help them improve.

Closing the Achievement Gap is a state-funded project that has made each school in the district more consistent with one other’s curriculum, Skjonsby said. Consistency helps the district improve as a whole, rather than school by school, she said. There are six districts in the state participating in the program.

“(Closing the Achievement Gap) is really allowing us to put a name to each student and find out what they’re not getting,” Skjonsby said.

When CSAP results slide in certain categories, the district can look to the Closing the Achievement Gap program to help figure out why and how to improve, she said.

“We have amazing teachers in place to help deliver all of this,” she said.

Superintendent Sandra Smyser was especially happy with the district’s performance in reading. Student success in reading shows the school district’s mission to get all students reading at their grade level by fourth grade is working, she said in a statement last week.

Six of the eight grade levels who took CSAP tests also improved overall math scores. Berry Creek Middle School, Eagle Valley Middle School and Gypsum Creek Middle School all improved math scores in every grade.

Writing scores were either better or just slightly down from last year for most of the grade levels tested.

While Skjonsby said that dips in some areas of the CSAP results prove the school district has some work to do, she said the district’s programs and commitment keep it “moving in the right direction.”

“We have a little ways to go, but we have come so far,” Skjonsby said.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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