Standardized test score results from the Colorado Department of Education are in, and now Englewood Schools has data to better understand student success. While some schools are celebrating success …
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Standardized test score results from the Colorado Department of Education are in, and now Englewood Schools has data to better understand student success. While some schools are celebrating success from results, others like Englewood middle schools have room to grow.
Results from the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) standardized tests, which test students in grades three through eight in English and math subjects, were released by the state on Aug. 15. Schools like Charles Hay World School and Clayton Elementary School were among Englewood Schools that the district highlighted as having a successful year.
Test scores are based on how many students meet or exceed expectations based on state standards.
At Charles Hay World School, K-6, the school saw 58% of its students meet or exceed expectations in third grade English and math. The school’s sixth grade students outperformed the state in median growth percentiles by 25% in math, according to Englewood Schools. Statewide, 34.7% of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded expectations in math.
“I really think of our school as a continuous journey of improvement over the past two years, and I see that journey continuing into a third year this year. With that being said, I think that there are a lot of ways to measure school improvement, and we, frankly, look at our improvement on our students’ CMAS results as one small, but important indicator of a school that is heading in the right direction,” said Ryan Cowell, principal at Charles Hay World School.
Cowell, who is in the midst of his third year as principal at the school, said Charles Hay’s overall percentage of kids meeting or exceeding expectations on CMAS testing has grown around 18% for both English and math.
At Clayton Elementary School, fourth-grade students outperformed the state in median growth percentiles by 24% in math and 20% in English, according to Englewood Schools.
“We’re pleased, but we also recognize there is lots of work left for us to make sure we’re providing a high-quality education for kids. (The fourth-graders) were all aware of where they were in their learning and what they need to move forward,” said Jenny Buster, principal at Clayton Elementary School. “When we get kids to really be involved in their learning in that way, we can see huge increases in student achievement.”
Room for improvement
“My initial impression (of the test scores) is that we continue to see great gains in many areas, especially at our elementary level. Though, with this much information, it also becomes clear where we have more work to do,” said Joanna Polzin, chief academic officer for Englewood Schools.
Polzin says Englewood Schools needs to focus its attention more on its secondary schools, particularly in English and math.
CMAS test results show that the number of Englewood seventh-graders who meet or exceed expectations in English dropped by 9.2% from last year’s results, while eighth-grade English results dropped by 6.3%. In math, the district’s seventh-graders meeting or exceeding expectations dropped by 3.1 % and eighth graders dropped by 4.5%.
Buster says all Englewood Schools are using data-driven instruction to accelerate and fill in gaps in school subjects.
Data-driven instruction is an approach that uses assessment, analysis and action as a key framework for schoolwide support to better student success, according to the New York State Education Department. Buster says schools are using it all throughout the country.
“A big part of the data-driven instruction is: What are we going to do as a result of our data to close the gap? That’s where the teacher makes the difference to say: The kids didn’t get it, but how else can I come back and present this concept in a different way?” said Buster. “It’s this idea that we don’t move on. We move forward with our curriculum, but we make time in our day to reteach standards and concepts that students haven’t mastered, according to data.”
Polzin says Englewood Schools has been extremely focused on academic achievement in the past year, working on its Academic Advancement Initiative. The initiative involves additional mentorship for principals, instructional support for teachers and aligned curriculum districtwide, Polzin said.
“My goal is to continue refining our systems to ensure the best possible learning environment for all students this year and for years to come. We will continue to do what has been working well and will adjust what has not been working in order to stay on a path to continued academic success,” said Polzin.
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