on August 22, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Jeffco students assess higher than state average

Jeffco students assess higher than state average

The 2016 Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) test results for science and social studies were released last week. The tests, conducted last April, tested fifth, eighth and 11th graders in science, and a sampling of fourth and seventh graders in social studies.

In the Jefferson County School District, 41 percent of fifth graders, 38 percent of eighth graders, and 34 percent of 11th graders met or exceeded the state’s expectations in science. Those results are an average of 8 percentage points ahead of the state average. Compared to 2015’s test results, the district’s eighth graders scored largely the same, however fifth graders in the district saw a 2 percent decline. This was the first year for 11th-grade results.

Social study CMAS results were only available statewide, since the testing was only done on a sampling basis. Colorado students improved slightly over 2015’s results, with 23.8 percent of fourth graders and 18.1 percent of seventh graders meeting or exceeding expectations.

Dr. Carol Eaton, Jeffco’s executive director for instructional data services, said state standards that are tested by CMAS are tougher than what was required by previous tests –; requiring less memorization and more critical thinking.

“It takes time to move students to those levels of understanding,” she said.

At the high school level, only 70 percent of students in Jefferson County agreed to take the science test. Eaton said the higher percentage of students opting not to take the test likely helped throw off the 11th-grade results somewhat. She said that according to the state department of education, the average student declining to take the tests also happens to be one who traditionally scores above average.

When asked about large discrepancies between some schools’ results, Eaton said school choice and special offerings like International Baccalaureate programs could lead to high achievers flocking to certain schools. But, she added, it was an issue that was being explored at the school and district level.

Each school uses CMAS data to identify “root causes” of each year’s results. The school then drafts and updates an action plan on how to best improve test results.

“We’re never satisfied until all of our students are meeting expectations,” Eaton said.

CMAS results for English and math are scheduled for release on Sept. 1, with specific student-growth analysis data being released a couple weeks after that, Eaton said.

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