Colorado released scores on its new tests in science and social studies, and the proportion of students labeled “college-reeady ” was disastrous. That is, if you expect most students to graduate from high school and perhaps go to college.
Either the curriculum has been narrowed so much that students aren’t learning much science or math, or the tests were so hard that few students could pass it.
Officials said, as they always did, that they expected low scores. Any teacher whose class got such low scores would be rated “ineffective.”
Colorado has been in the firm grip of the corporate reform movement for a decade. Look at the results. Sad for the kids.
Colorado students scored dismally in new science and social studies test results released Monday, a sobering development as the state enters a new era of standards and tests meant to be more demanding.
Just 17 percent of Colorado fourth- and seventh-graders scored “strong” or “distinguished” in the state’s first social studies tests. That means those students are on track to be ready for college and career.
In science, 34 percent of fifth-graders and 32 percent of eighth-graders hit those marks in assessments given last spring.
The results are a test run for advocates of tougher standards and tests. Those supporters will face a similar situation — and possible backlash — after a larger round of tests this spring based on the politically divisive Common Core standards in math and language arts.
In portraying the social studies and science results, state officials were careful to emphasize two points — that the standards and tests are unique to Colorado, and low scores were anticipated.
To measure students’ mastery, the education department, educators and publishing giant Pearson Inc. developed new online tests, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS.
The racial achievement gaps were stark in the results released Monday. In fifth-grade science, 13 percent of black and 15 percent of Latino students were strong or distinguished, compared to 46 percent of white students.
High-performing charter schools and district-run schools in affluent areas scored highly.
Districts in poor rural areas and close-in Denver suburbs posted the lowest scores. On average, just 6 percent of students in Commerce City-based Adams County School District 14 scored strong or distinguished on the tests.
In Denver Public Schools, 11 percent of fourth-graders and 12 percent of seventh-graders scored strong or distinguished in social studies. Twenty percent of fifth-graders and 22 percent of eight-graders did so in science.
“The results are not where we want them to be long-term,” said Alyssa Whitehead-Bust, DPS’ chief academic and innovation officer, adding they were not a surprise. “We obviously feel we have the opportunity to really grow and ensure deeper levels of command for students.”
Look at the bright side: There is lots of opportunity to grow when you are down so far. Rigor, rigor, rigor!