Eagle County test scores move ahead of state average | VailDaily.com

Eagle County test scores move ahead of state average

EAGLE, Colorado – Local students are ahead of the state average in reading and stable in math, writing and science, according to test results released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

Statewide testing found that 73 percent of the students in Eagle County school district were proficient or advanced in reading, up from 71 percent last year.

The state average saw 71 percent of the students tested score as proficient or advanced. The testing measures students in grades 3-10 across Colorado.

Local students’ scores are up for the fourth straight year.

The highlights break out like this:

• Five of those eight grade levels tested met or improved their reading scores from the previous year.

• Seven of the eight grade levels tested exceeded state reading scores this year.

• Four of the eight grade levels tested in reading met or exceeded the highest number of students scoring proficient or advanced in five years.

• Battle Mountain High School, Eagle Valley High School, Edwards Elementary School, Homestake Peak School and Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy improved their reading scores at every grade level tested.

• 98 percent of English-proficient third-graders at Brush Creek Elementary School, English-proficient sixth-graders at Berry Creek Middle School and English-proficient sixth-graders at Eagle Valley Middle School scored proficient or advanced in reading.

• 97 percent of English-proficient fifth-graders at Red Sandstone Elementary School and fourth-graders at Edwards Elementary School scored 97 percent proficient or advanced.

• The percentage of English-proficient local students were ahead of the state average in every grade and every content area tested.

“We are pleased with the TCAP scores, specifically the increase in reading scores for the fourth year in a row,” said Sandra Smyser, superintendent of Eagle County Schools.

The Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests math reading, science and writing, similar to the state’s CSAP tests, which the state department of education abandoned this year. A different test will replace them both, as early as next year.

CSAPs were a multiple choice test. The next phase of testing will be nothing like that, said Heather Eberts, the Eagle County school district’s director of curriculum and assessment.

“Employers are demanding different skill sets when students leave high school. They want them to be able to look at a problem and think critically,” Eberts said

Standardized testing and the classroom instruction are changing to reflect that.

“Kids have to work through a problem that they might face in a business situation. There might be multiple solutions to a single problem and they have to explain which one they think is the most right,” Eberts said.

Test scores are important, but they’re just a snapshot, “a one-shot deal,” Eberts said. The material teachers present every day is what’s most important, and that’s changing as state and national standards have changed, Eberts said.

“We have some talented teachers. They’ve paid attention to kids, which is their primary focus, and learned what was new,” Eberts said. “We knew if we sat back and didn’t do that it would not be the right thing to do. When we got wind that standards and everything else was changing, we decided to get ahead of everything.”

The school district could have bought battle-tested curriculum, but decided not to. They brought in the teachers to help create it, and it’s based on traditional standards, Eberts said.

“Those standards are battle tested, content and skills. Some new content has been introduced, but not a whole lot,” Eberts said. “Teachers know a lot of stuff. They’ve taught this for years, so who better to create their curriculum. It’s not the program, it’s the people that makes the system better.”

• Third-graders in six out of the nine elementary schools improved or maintained their reading scores this year from last.

• Homestake Peak School third-graders jumped from 35 percent proficient or advanced last year to 62 percent this year.

• Red Sandstone Elementary School third-graders were up from 73 percent proficient or advanced last year to 87 percent this year.

• Gypsum Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders improved their scores from 63 percent and 62 percent to 77 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

• June Creek Elementary School third-graders were up from 49 to 60 percent, the highest score in the school’s history.

• Seventh-grade district reading scores were 75 percent proficient or advanced in 2012, from 71 percent in 2011.

• Ninth-grade reading scores were up 3 percentage points this year, with 72 percent scoring proficient or advanced, exceeding the state level at 67 percent.

• In writing, local students remained even as third through 10th graders scored 58 percent proficient or advanced, higher than the state average of 54 percent.

• 74 percent of English-proficient students scored proficient or advanced in writing.

• Avon Elementary School third-graders were up 17 percent in writing to 67 percent from 50 percent last year.

• The science portion of the TCAP test is administered to fifth, eighth and 10th grade students. Local students were 50 percent proficient or advanced, higher than the 48 percent state average.

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