BRIGHTON — Students in School District 27J continue to make academic progress although district officials would like to see more.
Results from the 2013 Transitional Colorado Assessment Program show students doubled the number of scores at or above state average and reached or maintained district highs on 12 different tests.
“I’m very, very excited by the trend data we’ve seen over the last five years,” Superintendent Chris Fiedler said. “I think its very strong evidence that what we’re doing is working in the classrooms. That is a tribute to our teachers and support staff, our parents and our principals and Mr. Kelly Corbett and Mr. Will Pierce.
The district met or exceeded the state average in six tests — third, fourth and fifth grade reading; fourth grade writing along with third and fourth grade math — doubling scores that met or exceeded the state average from three tests last year. Five years ago, only one score met or exceeded the state average in the district.
The district also achieved all-time highs on 12 tests where students scored proficient or advanced. Fifth grade reading increased 3.4 percent to 70.1 percent, ninth grade reading increased 1.5 percent to 62.5 percent, tenth grade reading increased 14.6 percent to 73.6 percent, fourth grade writing increased 10.1 percent to 55.2 percent, tenth grade writing increased 2.9 percent to 37.9 percent and tenth grade math increased 4 percent to 22.1 percent.
Three of these scores – fourth grade reading, ninth grade writing and fifth grade math have continued to improve their all-time highs over the last three years. Fourth grade reading increased 2.8 percent to 65.2 percent, ninth grade writing increased 7.1 percent to 46.4 percent and fifth grade math increased 1.8 percent to 64.1 percent. Ninth grade math maintained last year’s all-time high score of 29.6 percent.
In addition to the district’s highest scores, eight scores also saw improvement. Seventh grade reading improved 1 percent to 60.3 percent, sixth grade writing increased 2 percent to 47.3 percent, seventh grade writing improved 2 percent to 53.1 percent, eighth grade writing increased 0.8 percent to 43.6 percent, sixth grade math improved 0.9 percent to 52.9 percent, seventh grade math increased 0.6 percent to 41.4 percent, eighth grade science increased 2.3 percent to 40.6 percent and tenth grade science increased 0.5 percent to 39.3 percent.
The district also saw a decrease in the number of scores that declined from nine in 2012 to six this year. Among the scores are third grade writing which is down 5.2 percent to 48.1 percent, fifth grade writing which is down 0.8 percent to 55.8, eighth grade math which is down 4.7 percent to 39.4 percent and fifth grade science which is down 1.8 percent to 39.8 percent.
Sixth and eight grade reading levels also so a slight decrease with scores dropping 0.6 percent to 65.9 percent and 0.4 percent to 57.8 percent respectively.
Third grade math and reading scores also declined slightly from 73.2 percent in 2012 to 72.4 percent in 2013 and from 76.3 percent in 2012 to 73.6 percent in 2013, respectively, but still remain above the state average.
Fiedler attributes much of the success to the implementation of the thinking classrooms, where teachers utilize best practices to engage students in learning and making sure learning targets are clear for them. He said these academic gains have occurred at a time where the districts revenue has declined over the last four years and is pleased to see students are doing so well.
As for the growth scores on the TCAP, Fiedler said the scores are close but “we’re not there yet.” The median growth percentile for reading and writing increased slightly over last year with math moving from 43 to 48 and writing moving from 44 to 45. The median growth percentile for math decreased from 49 last year to 46 this year.
“Obviously, I would like to see us get to the point where at 50th percentile or higher,” he said. “It’s one of the board’s goals for us as an organization — to demonstrate a year’s growth for all students and that is the 50th percentile in reading, writing and math.”