TCAP results show D51 growth, room for improvement

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

As students enjoy the last few weeks of the summer break, District 51 is getting its first look at last years test scores. KKCO 11 News talked to the district about what the results revealed about student progress.

Across the state scores showed little movement on average. Here in Mesa County, the biggest growth was in math and the school district hopes to continue to progress so all of its students can be proficient.

Being proficient is the goal, but it's the growth in the state standardized test that has School District 51 so excited.

"We know as growth goes up, the proficiency level will follow," School District 51 chief academic officer Bill Larsen said. "Four years in a row, our district has gained in those math scores, those growth scores."

Colorado's first ever Transitional Colorado Assessment Program or TCAP scores were released earlier this week. Across the state, the average test scores were consistent with the 2011 CSAP results, meaning little progress was made.

“[The] TCAP performed beautifully. We were very pleased with the way that first test moved," Colorado Department of Education’s Jo O’Brien said. "[We are] hoping for some more urgency because those expectations will go away and will be replaced with higher expectations in 2014 and 2015."

Despite improvement, not everyone in School District 51 was proficient on the new TCAP tests.

"We still have several students that we look at individually that have not reached proficiency level," Larsen said.

Still, the district says it's on the right track, and the evidence backs it up. In reading, writing and math, Mesa County elementary, middle and high schools showed growth above the state level in seven of the 9 tested areas. Middle schools showed the biggest gains in proficiency and growth data, out-performing the state in 9 of 10 tested areas. School officials credit the teachers and students for taking on a new curriculum.

"Mesa County jumped right in and started to re-write all of the curriculum to match the Colorado academic standards," Larsen said. "We’re seeing the growth scores come, and we know it's directly tied.”

As the TCAP transitions to the new, tougher academic standards, School District 51 and the state hopes they’ll continue to see more growth and watch students rise to the occasion.

"We really need students to move forward in their achievement," O’Brien said.

Students will continue to take the TCAPs this upcoming school year as well as next year. The Colorado Department of Education says the new state standardized tests will be fully integrated by 2015. The new standardized tests are expected to be online, and students will get their scores much faster.

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