Poudre School District students continue to perform higher than students statewide in all 27 areas tested on the spring 2012 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) tests. TCAP replaced the Colorado Standardized Assessment Program tests.
As it has in the 15-year history of standardized tests, PSD’s district-wide averages for students scoring proficient and advanced remain well ahead of state averages, ranging from 7% to 16% higher across all subjects, at all grade levels. PSD increased the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced relative to 2011 in each of the four tested subject areas: reading, writing, math and science.
“PSD students continue to perform well which is a testament to the hard work of staff and students,” said Dr. Nancy Wright, superintendent. “We will continue with our plans to improve instruction in every classroom through professional development and our new teaching and learning framework.”
Student scores on TCAP are placed in four categories: unsatisfactory, partially proficient, proficient and advanced. Students rated proficient or advanced are performing at or above grade level in the subject area on the standards being tested. Those who placed in unsatisfactory and partially proficient are not proficient in one or more standards in the subject area being tested.
Student Achievement – Longitudinal Scores
PSD showed significant gains on the 2012 test in each subject area. When comparing a specific grade level from year to year, results reflect different student performance on the same assessment, which can be characterized as an analysis of instruction at that grade level over time.
• Reading: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in last 5 years in grades 5, 8 and 10. Tied highest percentage in 4th grade
• Writing: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in last 5 years in grades 8 and 10
• Mathematics: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in last 5 years in grades 8 and 10
• Science: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced
Student Achievement – Cohort Data
To look at student performance in terms of achievement, PSD considers the cohort data. This is how a specific set of students perform from year to year as they progress through the system.
• Reading: Fifth graders increased their scores 4 percentage points from when they were in fourth grade, increasing from 78% proficient and advanced in 2011 to 82% in 2012.
• Writing: Fifth graders increased their writing scores by 2 percentage points in 2012 climbing to 70% proficient and advanced from 68% when in fourth grade.
• Mathematics: The number of students who scored proficient and advanced in 2011 while in third grade increased from 79% to 80% as fourth graders in 2012.
• Science: Current tenth graders have increased their scores each time they took the science test since 2007: from 55% proficient and advanced as fifth graders in 2007 to 59% proficient and advanced as eighth graders in 2010 to 65% as tenth graders in 2012.
Colorado Academic Standards
Colorado adopted new academic standards in December of 2009, which describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject area and at each grade level. Districts across Colorado are expected to transition to these new standards by the 2013-2014 school year. PSD has already started this transition and is ahead of schedule to meet this state mandate. Results are used to measure state, district, school, and student performance on content standards and the new Colorado Academic Standards. Test scores provide a snapshot in time of PSD’s alignment of curriculum to these standards.
“The teachers, curriculum facilitators, and administrators in PSD have worked hard to ensure alignment between our curriculum and the new Colorado Academic Standards,” said Dr. Todd Lambert, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. “This work has been moving forward since the adoption of the new standards and we feel we are positioned well to meet the challenges of our current and future state assessments.”
Dr. Lambert added that “The Colorado Academic Standards also contain the national Common Core standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts. Future assessments will reflect the influence of these national standards and we are utilizing our professional development opportunities to continue to provide our teachers with the necessary time to prepare for these heightened expectations.”
TCAP scores are also used to calculate School and District Performance Frameworks, which are detailed reports that are central to Colorado’s new accountability system in alignment with The Education Accountability Act (SB 09-163). Schools and the District will receive their Performance Frameworks by late August, which will be posted by CDE on the SchoolView web portal (www.schoolview.org).
Parents will receive their students’ individual TCAP results from their school this fall. These reports detail each student’s progress toward meeting standards and provide an explanation of the performance categories. In addition to the traditional TCAP reports, parents will receive individual student Growth and Achievement Reports. These reports provide a longitudinal history of each student’s performance and growth on TCAP. Parents can also view their student’s test scores (CSAP, TCAP and local PSD assessments) for 2012 and prior years on the Student Snapshot on Parents landing page on the PSD website at www.psdschools.org/parents.
Colorado Growth Model
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) also released academic growth data for districts. The Academic Growth Model is the cornerstone of the state’s accountability system. The growth model measures individual student growth relative to other students statewide in the same grade and who began the school year at a similar academic starting point (as determined by prior CSAP scores.)
Academic growth measures students’ progress
When using the Colorado Growth Model, the district typically looks at the district-wide median growth percentiles. The median growth percentiles are a means of comparing academic growth for schools and districts that serve different populations of students.
PSD's 2012 median growth percentiles remain high overall as evidenced by the elementary reading, writing and mathematics medians of 54, 54, and 52 respectively. Any median that exceeds the state norm of 50 is considered evidence that Poudre School District student's obtained levels of academic growth that exceeded their academic peers statewide. Further evidence of high growth is seen in the median growth percentiles obtained at the middle school level for math and writing, 52 and 51 respectively. PSD continues to work toward high levels of academic growth in all subject areas and at each level of our system.
PSD uses the Colorado Growth Model, CSAP and other assessments as tools to monitor and improve student progress in math, reading, and writing.
“One of our four district learning goals is for students to achieve a year’s academic growth in a year’s time,” says Dwayne Schmitz, Ph.D., PSD Director of Research and Evaluation. “We are very proud of the students who have consistently made academic gains that exceed their academic peers around the state. We continue to work toward all PSD students achieving high levels of academic growth.”