Kids crank out CSAPs before break

Cindy Ramunno
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyHunter Blevins, 15, left, and Brian Ervin, 14, right, enjoy an apple Wednesday during a snack break in between CSAP tests at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum.

EAGLE COUNTY – Students in grades three through 10 had their knowledge tested by the standardized tests last week. The CSAP test, which stands for Colorado Student Assessment Program, is required of all public school students in the state. All grades are tested in reading; grades 4 through 10 also are testing in writing; and grades 5 through 10 , in math. Eighth graders also are tested in science. Throughout the valley, students were in quiet classrooms with pencils humming. During breaks, parents and staff members distributed snacks and words of encouragement.

Staff members administer the test, which is taken very seriously by district officials and staff members. Eagle Valley High School teacher Eric Mandeville says teachers have worked hard all year to help students feel confident about the test. “EVHS has taken great strides in preparing our freshman and sophomore students for the exam. As a building, we have really pulled together to make this year a success,” says Mandeville, who adds the school community and booster club donated snacks. “We really appreciate those who donated – it really helped testers receive an energy boost,” Mandeville says.Most high school sophomores were relieved this year was their last year for the exam. Tenth grader Kyle Green said the math portion of the test was the toughest.

“They mixed all of the math levels together, so you had anything from geometry to basic math,” says Green. Green’s classmate, Ashley Fahrenholtz agreed math was the hardest to get through. “I thought I was ready to take the math CSAP, but once I got started, it shocked me how difficult it was,” Fahrenholtz says. “It was especially hard because it was the last test of the day and I couldn’t concentrate at all.”Some of the freshmen at the school would like to see some changes for next year. Mikeila VanDyke and Mike Medsker say the extended time for writing is way too long.

“The essay section of the test should be broken up because writing an essay two sessions in a row gets boring,” says Medsker and VanDyke agrees: “An hour is too long – we lose interest and some people stop trying.”The exam is critical for Colorado school districts because it determines a school’s report card score and measures compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act. Results of the CSAP tests typically come out in August. “This is a very serious testing program for our students, and we’re always looking for improvement” school district spokesperson Pam Boyd says.Vail, Colorado

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