Results of the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) were released last Wednesday. When the school board met the following day, assistant superintendent Kurt Clay was pleased to announce Delta County Joint School District #50 met or exceeded state averages in 21 of the 27 categories tested last spring.
TCAPs will be administered just two years, in 2012 and 2013, as the state transitions from Colorado Model Content Standards to the Colorado Academic Standards. Students in grades 3 through 10 were tested in reading, writing and mathematics, and grades 5, 8 and 10 were tested in science.
For the first time in Delta County, writing scores in every category met or exceeded the state.
Writing is not only taught as a subject at every grade level, Clay said, it's been incorporated into other content areas as part of the districtwide curriculum that's been developed over the past several years.
"We know a lot of our teachers are not necessarily writing experts, but with the rubrics [included in the new curriculum] they can be successful teachers of writing as well as their content area."
In social studies, for example, the majority of assessments require a written response such as an essay or short answer.
In addition to celebrating "phenomenal" writing scores, particularly at the elementary level, Clay highlighted exemplary results in third, eighth and 10th grade math, ninth grade writing and 10th grade science.
"In those five areas, we scored the highest we've ever done," he said.
The areas of third and fourth grade reading were a disappointment, Clay said. For the first time, reading scores dropped for third graders. Fourth grade reading was down for the second year in a row. "That was kind of a surprise to us, to be honest with you," Clay told school board members. "It's definitely a concern, and something we'll be addressing."
From fifth grade on, reading scores were well above the state averages.
In science, fifth and eighth grade science dropped below the state average, while scores for 10th grade — which have been below the state average — reversed that trend.
Math has been an area of focus in Delta County, and efforts to turn test results around have seen some success, Clay said. Delta County Joint School District #50 exceeded the state average in every grade level except ninth and 10th.
"Even though we are still below the state average in those grades, we are finding some models that are really working," he said. He cited Hotchkiss High School, where the use of tutorials on individual iPads has driven student achievement 10 percentage points above the state average for 10th graders.
That instructional model supports differentiation, which allows students to learn at their own pace. "That's where education has completely changed from where you and I went to school," Clay told school board members.
He concluded his presentation with noteworthy school achievements:
• Cedaredge Elementary third grade math.
• Cedaredge High School ninth grade math and 10th grade science.
• Delta Middle School sixth grade writing, seventh grade math and eighth grade math.
• Delta High School ninth grade writing.
• Hotchkiss K-8 fifth grade science.
• Hotchkiss High School 10th grade math and 10th grade science.
• Paonia Elementary fifth grade science.
• Paonia Junior/Senior High School seventh grade writing, ninth grade writing, ninth grade math and 10th grade math.
Teachers and administrators spend a great deal of time analzying the data from the state assessments, tracking trends across the district, breaking them down into individual schools, and finally honing in on what individual students need to grow in the model content areas. Through PLCs, or professional learning communities, they share the "best practices" in each content area.
"We look at the data, set goals, and make sure everyone in the school is working toward that goal," Clay said. "We're more focused so we can hit the ground running with each individual student."
Results for each school in Delta County Joint School District #50 can be found on the Colorado Department of Education website.blog comments powered by Disqus