Poudre School District third-grade TCAP reading scores show uptick

Poudre School District third-graders improved on state tests in reading this year, with 84 percent of PSD’s third-graders reading at or above grade level based on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program reading test. This is an increase of 1.6 percent or 34 more students that scored in the proficient or advanced range. This ties the second highest scores since CSAP/TCAP testing started in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Education released preliminary reading scores for third-graders from the TCAP test given this spring. TCAP tests replace the former Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests that students have taken in the past and support school districts as they transition to the new Colorado Academic Standards. Students can fall into one of four categories based on their performance: unsatisfactory, partially-proficient, proficient and advanced. Students scoring in the two lower categories (unsatisfactory and partially proficient) are not proficient. Students who rated proficient or advanced are performing at or above grade level.

Of the 2098 PSD third-graders tested in spring 2013, 12 percent scored advanced, 71.9 percent scored proficient, 10.5 percent scored partially proficient and 5.3 percent scored unsatisfactory. Five students had a no score. One student from Zach elementary school scored 100 percent on the assessment.

PSD’s third-grade reading scores increased in 2013, rising slightly from 82.3 percent proficient and advanced in 2012 to 83.9 percent in 2013. State scores decreased 0.7 percent in 2013 down from 74 percent in 2012. PSD students continue to outperform students statewide, scoring 10.6 percentage points higher than the state average. During the 12 years the tests have been given, PSD third-graders have surpassed the overall performance of students statewide by 8-12 percentage points each year in the proficient and advanced categories.

“PSD clearly outperforms the state average and ranks near the very top of the ten largest districts in the state,” said Johan van Nieuwenhuizen, PSD assessment coordinator. “This success is evident as an increased number of PSD elementary schools met the district learning goal of having 85 percent of their 3rd grade students perform at the Proficient/Advanced level on the state assessment.”

The number of schools meeting or exceeding the district goal of 85 percent proficient or advanced increased from 15 to 20 schools.

PSD’s results also show significant gains at several elementary schools, specifically those with higher populations of students from low income backgrounds. Irish Elementary, which has 85.4 percent of its students who qualify for Free Lunch, showed a 11 percent gain. Laurel Elementary, which has a 67.3 percent rate of Free Lunch, had an 9 percent gain. Putnam Elementary, which has 82.8% students who qualify for Free Lunch, had a gain of 8.9 percent.

“We are committed to high academic achievement and growth of our students through the use of research based literacy instruction, professional development, and instructional resources,” said Dr. Kevin Hahn, assistant superintendent of PSD elementary schools. “Our principals and teachers have given a great amount of time and effort to build their instructional leadership to impact our third grade reading achievement and will continue to strive for the increased performance of all students and for all academic subgroups.”

The TCAP results show how students are scoring in March. The TCAP does not reflect where a student’s abilities were when school started. Other assessments like the Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA2) and Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs), are given at the beginning and end of the year, to determine the academic growth students are making in one year.

Comprehensive results of all TCAP tests given this spring in reading, writing, math, and science to 3rd–10th grades, as well as the 11th grade ACT results, will be released by the state in August.

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