Montrose, Ridgway, Telluride and Norwood Show Declines
MONTROSE – Approximately 66.8 percent of Montrose County RE-1J third graders who took the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program reading test earlier this year scored proficient or better, according to preliminary results released Tuesday from the Colorado Department of Education.
The 2014 reading results are below 2013 data, where 69.49 of Montrose third graders were scored as proficient, with the state average at 71.5 percent, down from 73.26 in 2013.
The data is considered preliminary and unofficial because it has not been subject to the state’s Student Biographical Data review process.
According to the CDE, school districts are “allowed to review and modify all their TCAP” scores in late May. “The SBD review process may affect individual school and district summary level data. Therefore, these data are considered preliminary and unofficial,” the CDE said in a press release.
The official TCAP data from all grades will be released in August, along with data from the entire district.
Third-graders in Montrose are annually given the reading TCAP test in February, about a month before all other TCAP testing. These early results give teachers time to create reading plans before the end of the school year for those students who are not proficient, and give them a chance to catch up before the next school year begins.
Of the 428 Montrose third-graders tested, just 49 (or 11 percent) were found to be not proficient and 93, or 21.7 percent, were found to be partly proficient. Approximately 256 third-graders, or 59.8 percent, were found to be proficient, adding just 30 students, or seven percent, to the district-scored total of that 66.8 percent proficiency or better.
The elementary school with the lowest level of proficiency was Northside, with 53.9 percent. Northside is the district’s leader in English Language Learner students, and a majority of its student population qualifies for the district’s Free or Reduced Lunch Program. Statewide, 57 percent of students qualifying for the lunch program tested proficient or better (with Latino students also showing a drop, and testing at about 56 percent).
Olathe Elementary School students scored 57.8 percent, and Johnson students 61.2 percent. Scoring higher than the state average were Oak Grove Elementary at 72 percent and Pomona, at 77.4 percent, and leading the district in third-grade reading proficiency was Cottonwood Elementary School at 79.1 percent.
According to RE-1J spokesperson Mindy Baumgardner, the scores do not reflect the district’s efforts in helping students achieve better performance, because each class of students tests differently than others. The district this school year implemented new K-5 reading programs aimed to help students keep up with expected levels of performance.
“We’re still excited about the direction the district is heading in even though we took a small dip,” Baumgardner said. “There are a lot of good things going on.”
This marks the final semester of TCAP testing, as Montrose educators prepare for the new Colorado Measures of Academic Success and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers PARCC tests, which will be the mainstay for Colorado schools, moving forward.
The CMAS tests, created by the Colorado Department of Education after it adopted new Common Core Standards in 2010, will be administered this spring to 4th and 7th grade social studies students and 5th and 8th grade science students. The TCAP tests have been the state’s testing rubric since the 1990s, and Montrose students have been trending upwards in TCAP results in recent years.
The state goal is to have all tests become digital within three years, and new (as-of-yet unfunded) state mandates say districts must have a one-computer-per-eight-students ratio to complete the online tests, which Montrose administrators say is not likely to happen unless more funding for technology can reach Montrose classrooms.
Tuesday’s TCAP scores can be found at: www.cde.state.co.us/assessment/prelimgrade3-embargo2014.