A number of bright spots showed up in Englewood’s results on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests, particularly in the area showing student growth.
The TCAP tests in reading, writing, and math for third- through 10th-graders, as well as science tests for some grades, are in place to allow the state to develop a revised testing system scheduled to be put into use in 2015.
Karen Brofft, Englewood assistant superintendent, said TCAP tends to be a more difficult test.
“The new test has removed many of the easier items, so this is a more rigorous test of student knowledge,” she said. “The goal is to continue to make the tests more challenging to see how well students handle difficult questions.”
The scores have been released for achievement and growth for every grade and every school in specific subjects. Plans are to have all the Englewood results posted on the website at www.englewoodschools.org by Aug. 15.
Achievement results rates student performance as unsatisfactory, partially proficient, proficient or advanced. Educators have long pointed out that comparing this year’s results with results from previous years isn’t valid since each year there is a different group of students at each grade level.
Over the past few years, Englewood students haven’t scored well on state tests. The district launched an effort to upgrade curriculum and instructional system in an effort to improve student achievement that would translate to improved test scores. School Superintendent Brian Ewert said the problems occurred over several years and the effort to turn things around would also take time to be successful.
This year, school officials also pointed out that this year’s TCAP is a very different test than last year’s Colorado Student Assessment Program test.
Growth compares student progress. For example, the growth results compare how last year’s third-graders did on the tests with how that group of students did as fourth-graders this year. The results are expressed in percentiles.
“Most of the bright spots for our district were concerning growth,” said Michelle Ansley, Englewood’s director of academic achievement. “Our district median percentiles of growth on reading, writing and math tests were all in the 40s, which is rated as typical growth.”
Superintendent Brian Ewert said the district is making progress and student growth and achievement are generally improving, so Englewood schools will continue to educate students as they did last year.
“When I spoke to the returning faculty at our kickoff assembly Aug. 6, I told them we feel we are headed in the right direction and we need to stick with what we have been doing,” he said. “We also need to be patient with the new instructional model we put into place last year because, in education, significant improvement takes time.”
Brofft said a bright spot in the test results includes the significant reading growth from fourth to fifth grade throughout the district.
“Our elementary grade reading scores have improved and we feel the Reading Plus has contributed to that improvement,” she said.
Reading Plus is a voluntary computer-based program focused on helping a student improve vocabulary, reading speed and reading comprehension.
“The TCAP data showing growth for eighth- to ninth-graders in reading, writing and math is a concern,” Ansley said. “We feel one contributing factor is the difficult adjustment students face in moving from middle school to high school.”
Ansley also said this year teachers will have access to benchmark tests given throughout the district three times a year.
“The benchmark tests are important because it allows the teacher to see how a student is progressing in a subject,” she said. “It is valuable because, if a student is struggling in a subject, adjustments can be made to help the student get up to speed.”