Students in the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District scored above the state average in 23 of the 27 areas on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests. Writing and high school math, though, were two areas students will need to work on, said district assessment coordinator Amy Heinsma.
Third- through 10th-grade students scored proficient or advanced in all but four (10th-grade math, ninth- and 10th-grade reading and 10th-grade writing) of the 27 tests in science, math, reading and writing. Last year, the Re-4 students scored proficient or advanced in all 27 areas of the tests. In 2010, the district’s students scored above the state average on 26 of 27 tests.
“Overall, there are things that we can improve on, but we like mostly what we see,” Heinsma said. “Of course, we want to be above state average in all of them.”
Previously called CSAP — Colorado Student Assessment Program — Heinsma said the TCAP test has been designed to measure standards that are common between the old state standards, originally adopted in 1993, and the new state standards which were updated in 2009. She said the new standards were revised to include the 21st-century skills of innovation, critical thinking and reasoning, information literacy, self-direction and collaboration. She said the skills were woven into each content area of the new Colorado Academic Standards.
The statewide assessment is given to students who are in third through 10th grade. Reading, writing, and math are tested for each of those grades, while students in fifth, eighth, and 10th grades are tested in science.
“These tests give us an idea of how students are doing in relation to the state academic standards at that time,” Heinsma said. “This snapshot helps us focus our energy into areas where we need to improve and highlight areas of strength that we need to replicate throughout the district. Although we saw a drop in some content areas and grade levels when we look at last year’s scores compared to this year’s scores, it is important to remember that these are different groups of students with different strengths and needs. We will continue to work on those areas that need improvement. We are pleased to see that most of our students met target growth for the year.”
Windsor Middle School made gains in reading at every level.
Windsor High School 10th-graders (25.7 percent proficient or advanced) were the only Re-4 students who scored below the state average (32.7 percent) on the math results. They also scored below the state average in reading (66.8 percent, compared to the state average of 68.2 percent) and writing (45.3 percent, compared to 48.3 percent).
“We do have several areas that we will need to review further to determine why we are seeing lower than expected scores and growth,” Heinsma said. “Two areas that we need to look at are writing and high school math. We also discuss other areas that affect achievement such as motivation, the transition to new standards, available resources and training that may be needed. We have been very focused on math the past few years as a district providing training for teachers through our federal grant funding and evaluating which resources will help us meet the more rigorous new state standards.”
Heinsma said that over the next few years, the district will be seeing several state assessment changes to reflect the changes in standards.
“For this school year, students will take the TCAP in reading, writing, math and science at the same grade levels as before,” Heinsma said. “Additionally, in 2013-2014, the science assessment will be computer based and given in grades 5, 8, and 11. During that year, we will also be adding social studies state assessments in grades 4, 7 and 11. In 2014-2015, the new reading, writing and math assessments will be in place.”
Overall, there are things that we can improve on, but we like mostly what we see. Of course, we want to be above state average in all of them. \n
Amy Heinsma, Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District assessment coordinator