Scores from the 2018 statewide annual assessment, known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, were recently released. All Colorado students in grades three through 11 take these tests at the end of each school year. Here are Colorado Succeeds top takeaways.
1. Improvements in English Language Arts Across Grades 3-8
The percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in English Language Arts increased across all grade levels from 2017 to 2018. That said, significant improvements are still needed, with more than 50 percent of third through eighth graders not meeting expectations.
2. Significant Gaps Remain Between Student Groups
Across English Language Arts and math, there is up to a 30-point gap between the number of black and Hispanic students meeting or exceeding state expectations compared to white students.
3. Participation Rates Are Up
2017 legislation, supported by Colorado Succeeds, led to smart reductions in testing and a switch to more relevant assessments in high school. These changes have significantly boosted participation. For example, since switching from the PARCC test to the Pre-SAT, ninth grade participation increased from 76 percent to 94 percent, demonstrating increased value for students.
4. Transparency has Improved
The 2018 results included data broken down by race and ethnicity, disability status, English language learner status, and whether the student was eligible for free and reduced priced lunch (the federal measure of poverty), at the school level. Since 2015, it had been hard to understand how these important subgroups of students were performing due to data suppression techniques used by the Colorado Department of Education. Access to student performance data is critical to driving improvement, and this is a welcomed change.
5. Colorado’s Rigorous Standards Offer a True Picture of Proficiency
Colorado’s expectations of students and how we measure student proficiency is higher compared to other states. A recent report from the nonprofit, Achieve, shows that Colorado’s performance standards provide a very accurate picture of the number of students meeting grade-level expectations. Other states have inflated this number, indicating a false sense of proficiency.
6. The Succeeds Prize Winners Shine
All 2017 winners of The Succeeds Prize had a higher percentage than the state average in students meeting or exceeding expectations in English Language Arts and higher than average mean SAT scores for the high school winner, DSST Green Valley Ranch. Click here to see all 2017 winners.