Third-graders still ahead of state in reading |

Third-graders still ahead of state in reading

Veronica Whitney

The Colorado Department of Education on Thursday released results of the test, which evaluates how well schools and students meet Colorado standards for proficiency in reading, writing, math and science.

For the 2001-02 school year, third-grade reading scores district-wide were 79 percent proficient or advanced, compared to 72 percent for the state. Students taking the test in Spanish scored 77 percent, compared to 59 percent scored statewide.

Last year, however, scores for the third-grade reading test in Eagle County were 84 percent proficient or advanced.

“The point we need to remember when we are looking at this year’s scores, as well as last year’s scores, is that we are comparing two totally different groups of students,” said John Brendza, Eagle County School District assistant superintendent. “This information will be valuable in assisting principals, teachers and administrators in evaluating curriculum and assessment resources to improve reading instruction in the future.”

All in all, 107 third-grade students in the Eagle County School District took the test in Spanish. But since the state only reports those schools with 16 or more students in the test group, only scores from Avon and Edwards elementary were reported.

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The scores of Avon Elementary School students who took the test in Spanish were 91 percent proficient, compared to 76 percent at Edwards Elementary. Avon scores for the English version were 75 percent proficient.

Scores at both schools were higher in the Spanish version than the English version.

“We’re up from last year and ahead of the state’s scores,” said Linda Easthouse, principal of Avon Elementary School. “Our scores are based on a strong English as a Second Language program and excellent teachers.”

This year’s results for the CSAP’s third-grade reading assessment show a progressive improvement since the test was first taken in 1998. In 1998, 66 percent of third-graders reached the proficient and advanced levels compared to 72 percent in 2001 and 2002. Of the 54,360 students across the state who were tested, 6,138, or 11 percent, scored in the advanced range.

Performance of minority students also has increased over the five years too, with Hispanic students’ performance increasing 6 percent.

“The Student Assessment Program in Eagle County has been designed to gather information about the achievement of Eagle County students using a variety of assessment measures,” Brendza said. “The most important use of these results is to continue to improve upon the educational experience provided for all students attending Eagle County schools. It is through careful data analysis that we are able to evaluate instructional methods and programs in all four schools.”

Students in grades four through 10 took the CSAP in March. Those scores will be released by the Colorado Department of Education in August.

In 2001, the school district’s scores were average in writing, math and sciences and above average in lower-grade reading, said District Curriculum Director Gary Rito. The school district’s middle-school scores were above the state’s average, and the high-school scores weren’t above the state in anything.

Last year’s tests results showed half of Colorado’s fifth-graders were not proficient in writing and only 56 percent were proficient in reading; 70 percent of eighth-graders were not proficient in science and only 14 percent of 10th-graders could pass the math test.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at

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