Douglas County School District’s TCAP scores stayed in line with CSAP scores from 2011 to 2012, but that’s still cause for celebration, school leaders say.
“We’re really proud of the results we have had,” said Dan McMinimee, the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education. “With few exceptions, we’re still leading the state in virtually every category.”
The Colorado Department of Education released third-grade reading scores from the TCAP tests in May. Results released Aug. 8 reflect the math, reading and writing scores of students in third through 10th grades, and science skills among fifth-, eighth- and 10th-graders. Nearly 5,100 Douglas County students took the tests in March.
The TCAP, or Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, replaces the more well-known CSAP, or Colorado Student Assessment Program. CSAP was based on state educational standards that gradually are giving way to tougher standards adopted in 2011. Another test, based entirely on the new standards, will replace the TCAP in 2014 when the new curriculum is fully in place.
Douglas County saw a 7 percent drop in fourth-grade writing and a 6 percent drop in sixth-grade writing scores from 2011 to 2012, but all other 2012 district-wide scores were identical or within 2 percentage points of 2011. The exceptions were fifth-grade reading, seventh-grade writing and 10th-grade science scores, all of which rose by 3 percentage points.
Educators statewide are leery of the TCAP because it includes some of the new curriculum, which may be somewhat unfamiliar to students.
“I think we have the same concerns as the rest of the state; CSAP 2011 is different than TCAP 2012,” McMinimee said. “From a global perspective, we’re very, very happy about the secondary results. Without exception, every one of the high school and middle school test (scores) was equal to, or in many cases better, than we’ve performed in the past – with the knowledge it’s a different test.”
Douglas County led the way among the state’s 10 largest school districts in overall reading scores, with 82 percent of students tested scoring proficient or advanced.
It also ranked above the state median on all subjects in a category called growth performance, a measurement of academic progress.
While the news may be good for Douglas County, McMinimee said the district sees it as a snippet of the district’s educational picture.
“We appreciate the feedback we get from the state around TCAP,” he said. “But they’re a slice of time from four days in March. We are going to develop our own assessments. We’re going to continue to work in the areas where we have opportunities to grow, and continue to celebrate the areas where our district is outperforming everyone else.”
For more information on the 2012 scores, visit the Colorado Department of Education website at www.cde.state.co.us.