Grand County schools didn’t follow Colorado’s overall downward trend in standardized testing scores, though some grades still lag behind the state average for reading, writing and math, according to results released Aug. 14.
The state results for the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, or TCAP, measured student proficiency in reading, writing and math for third through 10th grades.
Scores in reading and writing showed an overall upward trend in East and West Grand schools from last year, while West Grand students stayed somewhat flat on math scores.
However, comparing the percentage of third through 10th-graders who were advanced or proficient in the three subjects to Colorado’s overall scores showed a large disparity between East and West Grand schools in writing and math for 2014.
Only third- and fourth-graders from West Grand were above the state average for the percentage of advanced or proficient students in math. West Grand fourth-graders were the only grade above the state average for writing.
The percentage of East Grand School District students scoring proficient or advanced in reading, writing and math was above the state average across the board for 2014.
This is the last year that students will be assessed through TCAP. Next year the state will begin a new testing program.
This year isn’t the first time that West Grand has had trouble with TCAP scores. Between 2012 and 2013, West Grand Middle School’s science proficiency dropped from 63.6 percent to 20.5 percent.
This year, West Grand Middle School scores did increase in reading and writing, but dropped in math.
West Grand School District’s new superintendent Mike Page said that, as a new administrator, his goal is to look at what has already been done to remedy test scores and use that as a foundation for moving forward.
“You go back and ask, ‘are we happy where we’re at?’” said Page. “My answer is no. We should never be happy where we are. We should always want to improve that.”
Moving forward Page said the district needed to further analyze TCAP data to determine what changes should be implemented in the classroom.
“First, you find areas that you need to improve and start improving them,” Page said. “I don’t want to tell you that we have the golden egg, but I think that’s where everyone’s going.”
Page said restraint is crucial in moving forward as a new administrator.
“One of the things I think a new administrator can do is change too many things too fast,” Page said.
East Grand School District continued its upward trend in the latest round of TCAP scores, with students exceeding state averages in all testing areas.
The district has implemented a number of strategies including math recovery training for elementary school teachers, literacy programs and additional instructional modules to help teachers prepare students, said Jodie Mimmack, East Grand superintendent.
“Each school will take a look at their goals from last year and the unified improvement plan and make a decision on whether the strategies they put in place last year need to be changed or fine tuned, but it looks to me like they’re working,” Mimmack said.
East Grand did lag behind state growth expectations for elementary students with disabilities in reading, writing and math, as well as other subgroups in elementary, middle and high school.
Mimmack said the district needed to close growth gaps in these area, but she stressed that TCAP scores are only a snapshot of the district’s performance.
“TCAP is one or two weeks out of the school year,” Mimmack said. “This is just one measure of our success.”
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.