Each year, students in grades 3-11 take a standardized test called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), which replaced the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) in 2014-15.
Students are tested in four core areas:
- social studies
- English language arts (PARCC)
- mathematics (PARCC)
PARCC is the portion of CMAS developed by a consortium of 18 partner states which tests students on their mathematics and English language arts abilities. It was administered for the first time in spring of 2015. Both PARCC and CMAS are designed to assess how well students are meeting Colorado's new academic standards, which stress critical thinking and applied understanding. Test questions are more in-depth than TCAP questions were, evaluating students' depth of knowledge and understanding. Since the two tests measured different skills and abilities, comparing scores from the two tests doesn't make sense.
A different group of students is tested each year in each subject and at each grade level, so comparisons from year to year at each grade level may not provide relevant information on the gains individual students are making.
PSD CMAS & TCAP Results:
- 2015 CMAS: PARCC (ELA/Math) Scores
- 2015 CMAS: Science/Social Studies Scores
- 2014 TCAP Scores (by school)
District-wide averages for students who met or exceeded expectations remain well ahead of state averages, from 15% to 18% higher in all subjects, at all grade levels. The scores provide a snapshot in time of PSD's alignment of curriculum to standards. Colorado has established model content standards, which describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject area and grade level.
Students can score in five categories:
- Exceeded Expectations
- Met Expectations
- Approached Expectations
- Partially Met Expectations
- Did Not Yet Meet Expectations
PSD uses CMAS along with other testing or assessment tools to monitor student progress throughout the year. Other PSD assessments that measure student progress include Measures of Academic Progress (MAPs), Developmental Reading Assessments (elementary), Scholastic Reading Inventories (grades 6-12) and "common assessments" in several subjects.
Scores are also used to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in conjunction with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal education legislation. In addition, the scores are used to calculate School and District Performance Frameworks, which are detailed reports that are central to Colorado?s new accountability system in alignment with The Education Accountability Act (SB 09-163). School and District Performance Frameworks are posted by CDE on the SchoolView web portal.
Along with student achievement, CMAS scores show academic growth in subject areas. These scores are typically reported as median growth percentiles. Median growth percentiles are comparable measures of academic growth between schools and districts that serve different populations of students. The Colorado Growth Model measures each individual student?s growth relative to the other students statewide in the same grade and who began the school year at a similar academic starting point based on prior CSAP scores.
CDE began reporting students' academic growth in 2008, and this measure is the cornerstone of the state's accountability system. PSD uses the Colorado Academic Growth Model calculation to measure student progress relative to their academic peers throughout the state. PSD uses the Colorado Growth Model as an additional tool to monitor each student's academic progress in math, reading, and writing.