Cortez students at every grade level lag average Colorado scores by nearly 20 percentage points in meeting or exceeding expectations in English and math, according to test results from the 2014-15 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.
Unveiled recently by the Colorado Department of Education, test results reveal that many Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 students are ill-prepared when it comes to making progress toward college and career readiness.
For example, only 13 percent of Montezuma-Cortez High School’s algebra students met or exceeded expectations last year. By comparison, an average of 30 percent of their peers statewide met or exceeded expectations in advanced mathematics.
The Journal emailed each of the seven school board members, asking for their insight and analysis into the results and propose a specific measure that could be implemented to improve academic performance. None of the school leaders responded.
At a meeting on Dec. 8, school board member Sherri Wright blamed the low test results on parents that allowed high-performing students to opt out of last year’s PARCC testing.
“The data is skewed,” Wright said.
“The data is useless,” added Re-1 Superintendent Alex Carter.
Some parents have chosen to opt their children out of assessment testing because of the numerous tests that students face, board member Pete Montano said earlier this month.
According to the PARCC data, 53 percent of the district’s algebra students opted not to take the assessment testing. By comparison, only 29 percent of algebra students across the state opted out of the testing.
Carter said he prefers that parents don’t opt their children out of the testing.
“The data that we get from these test is important,” Carter said.
Re-1 Assistant Superintendent Lori Haukeness has advised board members that future federal funding could be jeopardized because of the district’s low test results.
Despite the PARCC results, Carter contends that area students are succeeding academically, pointing to undisclosed data collected by the district.
“Overall, we’re excited about our results,” Carter said on Dec. 8.
A consortium of 10 states and the District of Columbia participate in PARCC, which aims to measure student achievement in English language arts and literacy as well as mathematics based on the learning standards expressed by the Common Core State Standards.
The primary purpose of PARCC is to provide high-quality assessments to measure students’ progress toward college and career readiness.
District officials are working to update its policy that gives parents the right to opt their respective child out of assessment testing.