Poudre School District's TCAP scores show upward trend

Poudre School District students continue to perform higher than students statewide in all 27 areas tested on the spring 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests. TCAP replaced the Colorado Standardized Assessment Program tests.

As it has in the 15-year history of standardized testing, PSD’s district-wide averages for students scoring proficient and advanced remain well ahead of state averages, ranging from 4 percent to 17 percent higher across all subjects, at all grade levels. PSD increased the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced relative to 2012 in each of the four tested subjects: reading, writing, math and science.

“PSD students continue to perform well which is a testament to the hard work of staff and students,” superintendent Sandra Smyser said. “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.

Student Achievement – Longitudinal Scores
PSD showed significant gains on the 2013 test in each subject area. When comparing a specific grade level from year to year, results reflect different cohorts of 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 grade 9. Tied highest percentage in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade
• Writing: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in last 5 years in grade 9. Tied highest percentage in 3rd and 5th grade
• Mathematics: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in last 5 years in grades 3, 7 and 9. Tied highest percentage in 4th, 5th and 10th grade
• Science: Highest percentage of students who scored proficient or advanced in 8th grade

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 3 percentage points from when they were in 4th grade, increasing from 79 percent proficient and advanced in 2012 to 82 percent in 2013. The 6th graders increased their percentage by 1 percentage point.
• Writing: Fifth graders increased their writing scores by 11 percentage points in 2013 climbing to 72 percent proficient and advanced from 61 pdf dng when in 4th grade. Seventh graders increased their percentage by 5 percentage points and 4th grade by 4 percentage points.
• Mathematics: Fourth graders increased their scores 3 percentage points from when they were in third grade, increasing from 78 precent proficient and advanced in 2012 to 81 percent in 2013.
• Science: Current 10th graders have increased their scores each time they took the science test since 2008: from 56 percent proficient and advanced as 5th graders in 2008 to 61 percent proficient and advanced as 8th graders in 2011 to 64 precent as 10th graders in 2013.

In December 2009, Colorado adopted new academic standards that 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 are working to implement our district’s Standards-based Teaching and Learning Framework,” said Robert Beauchamp, the district’s curriculum, instruction and assessment director. “The framework will provide all of our educators with a common vision of what good teaching and learning should look like, and common language as we collaborate around student academic growth.”

Beauchamp 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.

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.)

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 2013 median growth percentiles remain high overall as evidenced by the elementary reading, writing and mathematics medians of 57, 58, and 58 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 reading, 55 and 50 respectively. The growth percentiles for high schools are also good and as evidenced by the 51 for math and 50 for writing. We have 11 elementary schools that increased their Median Growth Percentile in all three content areas from the prior year, along with one middle and two high schools.

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. 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.”

Did you like what you just read?

Show your support for Local Journalism by helping us do more of it. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring stories like this to you.

Click to Donate