Students in Cortez and Dolores showed overall improvement in standardized testing in the past school year, according to the Colorado Department of Education.
Results for the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, administered in April, were released Thursday by the CDE. The tests, administered to grades three through eight, evaluate students’ proficiency in English and math.
“State tests provide valuable information to our principals and teachers on where we can improve and how we can better support each student and class,” Lori Haukeness, superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1, said in an email to The Journal. “We are excited to see the continued improvements in achievement in math and reading in our elementary and middle schools and improved levels of growth across our district, especially for our students who qualify for free and reduced lunch and our Native American students.”
She also highlighted the district’s improved graduation rate, which has increased by more than 20% in the past six years, with over 86% of Re-1 students graduating in four years.
Lis Richard, superintendent of Dolores School District Re-4A, also emphasized student’s improved performance on CMAS and emphasized that the district also uses additional evaluations.
“We are pleased to see growth overall in English language arts and certain grades’ growth in math,” Richard told The Journal on Friday. “This is just a piece of the full picture of our student growth. Our other measures also help us to see the targeted work we need to do for our students.”
Statewide, students saw higher growth in ELA than in math, a trend reflected in Montezuma County scores as well.
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes lauded student growth but said work remains to promote an equitable education for all young people.
“This was the fifth administration of CMAS ELA and math, and still the achievement gaps remain,” Anthes said in a statement. “Students from historically disadvantaged groups are not making the gains necessary to catch up. I know districts are working hard on this, and the reality is that there is no one answer to these persistent challenges that every state across the nation is facing.”
She pointed to some Colorado initiatives that attempt to close gaps – funding full-day kindergarten, offering teachers incentives to work in rural areas and focusing on reading efforts at a young age.
CMAS science scores also were shared, although only students in high school and fifth and eighth grades were tested.
Not enough Mancos students took the test for scores to be reported. Students in Mancos School District Re-6 may opt out of CMAS, and if fewer than 16 students take the test, results are not published by the CDE.
Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1Re-1 results were measured based on 1,152 valid scores in English language arts and 1,154 valid scores in math – a 99% participation rate for the ELA test and 99.1% participation rate for math.
In ELA, 31.5% of students met or exceeded expectations, a 4.6 percentage point increase compared with the previous school year’s test. In math, 17.3% met or exceeded expectations, a 1.6 percentage point increase compared with the previous test.
Cortez eighth-graders in particular showed significant growth, with 42.7% meeting or exceeding expectations in ELA and 22% in math – increases of 12.3 percentage points in ELA and 9.2 percentage points in math.
Haukeness said math would remain a focus for all grade levels in the coming school year.
The science assessment had a smaller data pool, since it was administered only to high schoolers and students in fifth and eighth grades. The Cortez results were tabulated based on 509 valid scores, a 95.3% participation rate.
In science, 19.3% of students met or exceeded expectations, a 4.6 percentage point increase from the previous year.
Dolores School District Re-4ADolores results were calculated based on a total of 357 valid scores for ELA, and 354 valid scores for math – a 96.2% participation rate in ELA and 95.4% participation in math.
In ELA, 38.4% of students met or exceeded expectations, a 6.7 percentage point increase compared with last year. In math, 27.1% met or exceeded expectations, a 2.4 percentage point increase.
Dolores third and fourth graders performed especially well this year in ELA and math and were the only students in the county to rank higher than the state average for students who met or exceeded expectations – they did so in both math and ELA.
In ELA, 43.3% of third graders and 56.7% of fourth graders met or exceeded expectations. This was a 2 percentage point decrease in the third grade from the previous year but an 18 percentage point rise in the fourth grade.
In math, 57.6% of third graders and 37.3% of fourth graders met or exceeded expectations – up 12.4 percentage points from the previous year in third grade and 8.3 percentage point for fourth grade.
On the science test, Dolores had 147 valid scores, for a 91.9% participation rate. Out of these scores, 22.4% met or exceeded expectations, a 7.4 percentage point drop from the previous year.
State averagesOverall state results were reported by grade level.
For ELA, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations ranged from a low of 41.3% of third graders to a high or 48.4% for fifth graders.
In math, the range was lower, from 29.5% of sixth graders to 41% of third graders.
For the science assessment, 35.9% of fifth graders, 31.5% of eighth graders and 20.7% of high school students met or exceeded expectations.