District 50 continues improvement in state assessment tests

Staff report
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The latest round of TCAP results show continuing academic improvement in District 50, which was the only metro district to show increases in student proficiency in math, reading and writing for three consecutive years. During the same three year period, the number of students testing at the unsatisfactory level dropped in all three subject matters.

Formal individual school and district ratings won’t be released by The Colorado Department of Education until December, but early data indicates that Westminster High School, Shaw Heights Middle School, Hodgkins Elementary and Metz Elementary will move from “Priority Improvement” to “Improvement” categories and Tennyson Knolls Elementary will move from “Improvement” to “Performance.”

“The numbers and trend lines are encouraging and a reflection of our focus on rigor and accountability, but we still have a lot of work in front of us,” said Superintendent Pamela Swanson.

In results released Aug. 14, the district showed improvement on 19 of the 27 testing categories for students across all grade levels. In addition, the scores, which also measure student growth over time, showed that for the first time “at-risk” students showed a higher growth rate than the student population as a whole.

“That is significant,” said Oliver Grenham, chief education officer. “It shows that we are making real progress with our most challenging students and our commitment to competency for all students is paying dividends.” Last year District 50 also made significant improvements when the district moved from a “Turnaround District” to a “Priority Improvement District”.

The district now has two years to move from the “Priority Improvement” category into either the “Improvement” or an accredited level like “Performance.”

“Our trend of improvement is continuing,” Grenham said. “But given where we are with our achievement, we know we have to go above and beyond to get above the state average.”