Last week the state released results from the statewide assessment known as Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). Check out these five things you need to know about the results:
1. Students are still behind pre-pandemic achievement levels
While Colorado students saw improvements over last year, the scores are still below pre-pandemic levels from 2019 for most grades and subject areas. The Commissioner of Education, Katy Anthes said in the state’s statement: “We celebrate the fact that student scores were better in most cases than they were in 2021, but we continue to face the challenge of fully bringing kids back to the levels they were before the disruptions of the pandemic, as well as closing the historic opportunity and achievement gaps.”
2. Student learning gaps remain an issue
Exacerbated by the pandemic, most school districts are far from closing large test score gaps between students from low-income families and their wealthier counterparts, as well as among racial subgroups.
For example, among eighth graders, only 32.4% met or exceeded grade-level expectations in math this year, a 4.5% decrease since 2019. This number is even more worrisome when disaggregated by race, where only 16.5% of Black students and only 15.1% of Hispanic students met or exceeded expectations. Compared to their non-BIPOC counterparts who met or exceeded expectations at 44.8%, it’s clear that equity gaps still loom large in our education system.
3. Math scores are farther behind than literacy
Consistent with other states, the Colorado results indicate that math has been impacted even more than literacy. According to the data, less than a third of eighth graders met proficiency expectations, compared to 37% back in 2019. Ninth graders showed the steepest decline across the grades with only 40% of ninth graders meeting or exceeding expectations in math, compared with almost 50% in 2019, a drop of 8.8 percentage points.
4. High school students are farther behind
In addition to CMAS assessment results, the state released 2022 Colorado SAT scores for high school students. Scores can range from 200-800 in English language arts and math and have mostly decreased among students since last year. According to a recent article by Chalkbeat Colorado, students averaged a statewide composite score of 986, a 15-point decrease since 2021.Two years ago in 2019, the statewide composite score among all learners was 505 in English and 496 in math respectively, with a 2-point decrease in English and a 13-point overall decrease in mathematics.
Differences by demographic groups continue to be a challenge. The largest gaps are seen between English learners and other Colorado students. Additional breakdowns by racial subgroups can be found here.
5. Third grade English-Language test scores are similar to levels before the pandemic
Third graders were the bright spots and earned scores similar to those before the pandemic. In education, reading is widely accepted as the foundation of learning and regarded as the most crucial academic skill. According to this year’s CMAS results, only 41% of third graders met or exceeded grade-level expectations in reading, compared to 41.3% in 2019.
Stay tuned to Colorado Succeeds as we continue to fight for educational improvements at the state level, including urging policymakers to ensure statewide data remains transparent, disaggregated by important subgroups and easy for parents to understand.