Each year, students in grades 3-11 take a standardized test called the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP), which replaced the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) in 2012.
Students are tested in four core areas: reading, language arts, mathematics and science. It’s important to remember that 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.
Poudre School District's (PSD) district-wide averages for students scoring proficient and advanced remain well ahead of state averages, from 5% to 15% 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 four categories:
PSD uses CSAP/TCAP 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, TCAP/CSAP 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.