Grand County third-graders rock reading CSAPs
May 13, 2011
East Grand School District third graders out-scored their peers and exceeded state averages in an unofficial tabulation released this week of 2011 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) reading tests.
Districtwide, 89 percent of third-graders passed the test with “proficient” or “advanced” scores, which exceeds the district’s goal of 10 percent above the state average, up slightly with 73 percent of Colorado students passing.
East Grand also had some of the highest scores in Northwest Colorado, including most Summit County, Routt County and Pitkin County schools.
Collectively, East Grand’s third-graders scored the highest in the district’s 14-year history of taking standardized reading tests.
Nine out of ten students “are going into the fourth grade next year proficient in reading. That’s not something that can be said about a lot of districts in the state,” said East Grand’s Director of Student Achievement Dr. James Chamberlin, who is also the part-time principal at Fraser Valley Elementary School.
The CSAP reading tests are based on the Colorado Basic Literacy Act of 1997, which encourages third grade reading proficiency throughout the state.
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The state education department’s tracking of students from third grade to their freshman year of college has recently produced “irrefutable” evidence that students who mastered reading comprehension by third grade “have a much better success rate in high school and college,” Chamberlin said.
For this reason, third grade is targeted for reading assessments in February, with scores produced before the end of the school year to give failing students individualized literacy plans “to make sure they have the support going into fourth grade,” he said.
In the course of learning, kindergarten through second grades focus on “learning to read,” while third through fifth grades focus on “reading comprehension.”
Also notable in this year’s scores are pass rates of Fraser Valley Elementary and Granby Elementary schools. Third-grade reading students scored better than any other year at both schools, with pass rates 95 percent and 94 percent respectively.
Because Indian Peaks Charter and Grand Lake Elementary schools have small classes, results were not released for those schools to protect individual student performances.
In comparing three-year averages for all four schools in the district, however, Grand Lake third-graders have a 72 percent pass rate, Indian Peaks has a 55 percent pass rate and both Granby and Fraser have an 80 percent pass rate.
Of all third-graders districtwide, three scored “unsatisfactory” and eight scored “partially proficient.”
Chamberlin said he attributes part of the success this year to teacher training on student achievement, which the district has been engaged in since last year. The district has received $600,000 in grants from the Colorado Department of Education for administrator and faculty training. One grant helps provide data-driven education reform and staff development, another supports teachers collaborating on lesson plans and using software tailored to curriculum “mapping,” and a four-year grant is being used to support a teacher and counselor to work with at-risk students.
Chamberlin also commended students and teachers for their achievements despite the “peripheral budget crisis in the district and community.”
“We’re very pleased with the results,” Chamberlin said. The challenge now, he added, will be studying what the positive impact was to scores and learning how to sustain or improve them.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603