LCSD Sees Growth on 2017 State Assessments
By Kate Bartlett, LCSD Chief Financial Officer
Lake County School District (LCSD) has received several sets of test results that point to the accelerating academic progress of our students and schools. From 2016 to 2017, LCSD students made more academic growth than the Colorado state average across the board.
“These assessment results are encouraging,” said Wendy Wyman, Superintendent. “Whereas a year ago we saw some bright spots in the data, now we are seeing consistent trends. Students in all categories are showing very significant academic growth from year-to-year.”
In spring 2017, our students took the PARCC English language arts and math assessments for the third year. These assessments replaced the TCAP and CSAP assessments. PARCC is a different and more rigorous test that requires students to use deep critical-thinking and analysis skills. Statewide, the percentage of students considered to be meeting expectations as measured by the more-difficult PARCC exam continues to be much lower than it was with TCAP or CSAP.
Lake County students made significant progress in moving toward meeting PARCC expectations in 2017. In 8th grade English Language Arts, a higher percentage of Lake County students met or exceeded expectations (44%) than the state (43%). Grades 4th-8th have all seen double digit increases in the percentage of students reaching this bar in ELA since 2015, and grades 3rd-8th all saw increases from 2016—some of them very significant.
The district also saw increases in the percentage of students meeting expectations in math in grades 3rd, 5th, 7th and 8th.
“The academic gains that we are seeing across grade levels are very promising,” said Wyman. “Ultimately, our job is to ensure that students meet or exceed the very rigorous expectations that we and the State of Colorado have set for them through the academic standards. This year’s scores are a testament to our teachers’ and our students’ incredibly hard work to drive toward this high bar.”
In addition to measuring how many students are meeting or exceeding expectations on the PARCC assessment, the state also tracks students’ growth from year to year. Once again from 2016 to 2017, students in LCSD made impressive growth across all subgroups. Lake County students grew more academically than their peers across Colorado regardless of demographics. For districts overall (all levels – Elementary, Middle and High), Lake County School District had the 5th highest ELA growth and the 8th highest math growth in the state. For districts at the middle school level, Lake County has the 2nd highest ELA growth and the highest math growth in the state.
Wyman reflected, “In LCSD, we are particularly focused on providing an equitable education—an education where a student can make tremendous academic progress regardless of his or her ethnicity, home language or socioeconomic status. This year’s growth data is further affirmation that our strategies are working, and that any and every child can succeed in our schools—regardless of background.”
PSAT & SAT
In 2017, LCSD 10th graders took the PSAT assessment for the second year, and 11th graders took the SAT assessment for the first time. The SAT has replaced the ACT as the state’s college-readiness assessment for high school juniors. On the PSAT, LCSD 10th graders scored in the 32nd percentile nationally in reading and writing, and the 36th percentile nationally in math. The LCSD mean SAT score in 2017 was 953, versus 1015 across the state. Across content areas, LCSD juniors’ median scores ranged from the 38th (math) to 45th (reading) percentile nationally. Of note is that 20% of LCSD juniors received an SAT score high enough that, when combined with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, is sufficient to gain admission to the Colorado School of Mines.
“The staff at the high school is doing an amazing job of preparing our students for the steps they need to take toward graduation and beyond,” said Wyman. “The combination of our new graduation requirements; flexible paths toward college and career; early college or dual enrollment at CMC; and rigorous academic expectations is powerful for our students. Quite simply, in the coming years, our kids are going to be unstoppable.”
After this story was initially posted, Leadville Today received the following statement:
“I’ve been following Superintendent Wyman for a couple of years and through her dedication and perseverance and the hard work of the teachers and staff in Lake County, the accountability scores are on the rise,” stated. Joyce Rankin, State Board of Education CD3. “Congratulations to all for a job well done!”