Learning English still test-score barrier | VailDaily.com

Learning English still test-score barrier

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” With every round of school testing, the achievement gap between English-speaking children and their Spanish-speaking counterparts becomes more apparent.

Results from the 2007 Colorado Student Assessment Program ” known as CSAP ” were released Tuesday throughout the state. Students grades 3 through 10 were tested in reading, writing and math, and students grades 5, 8, and 10 were tested in science.

The scores further indicate how Spanish-speaking children are struggling to catch up in school. Among all students in Eagle County, only 56 percent are fluent in English. The rest speak only some or no English.

Eagle County school officials didn’t return calls Tuesday to discuss or help translate the scores.

But take a look at the reading scores, for instance. Except for grades 7 and 10, Eagle County scored lower than statewide averages in reading. Third graders here scored eight points below the state average.

However, Eagle County is dealing with a much larger number of Spanish speaking students than Colorado as a whole, district officials have said.

When you compare only students fluent in English, Eagle County scored higher in every grade in reading.

In math, Eagle County students outperformed state averages in fourth, seventh and ninth grade. In other grades, Eagle County fell below state averages in math.

Students at the county and state level performed very poorly at middle school and high school math. Only 27 percent of 10th graders scored proficient or higher in math, and only 38 percent of ninth graders scored proficient or higher.

In writing, Eagle County outdid state scores in fifth and seventh grade, but lagged in others. In science, the district scored below state averages in fifth and eight grade, but tied in 10th.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

Student improvement is shown between 3 and 5th grade, 6th and 8th grade and 8th to 10th. Here are some observations:

– While students show a wide variety of improvement or a loss of skills at all grade levels and subjects, generally, most students tend to perform at the same level they did in previous years.

– Sixth graders who scored unsatisfactorily in math in sixth grade very likely didn’t improve by eighth grade. In fact, 84 percent of 6th graders who scored at that low level didn’t improve. This was by far the toughest area for students and one of the worst areas in improvement. Many students who scored proficient in math in 2005 also dropped to partially proficient.

– Only 26. 6 percent of Hispanic third graders who scored unsatisfactorily in reading in 2005 scored partially proficient in 2007 as fifth graders, and only 4.1 percent improved to proficient.

– Students who scored proficient appear to be the least likely to change over three years. Most students who score proficient don’t improve to advanced, but don’t drop a level either.

– It is quite common for a student who scored advanced as a third grader to drop to proficient as a fifth grader. It is not as common for a student to jump from proficient to advanced.

– Eighth graders who scored unsatisfactory in 2005 showed a dramatic improvement in writing skills in 2007 as 10th graders. Around 4 percent of those students improved to partially proficient in 2007.

– For a full rundown of all Eagle County scores, visit http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/documents/csap/csap_summary.html.

Here, you can view statewide results broken down several ways and compare Eagle County schools to every other school in the state.

– For CSAP scores broken down by categories like language and gender, visit http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/documents/csap/csap_disag.html.

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