COLORADO SPRINGS — After more than two years, the state is getting a better glimpse into how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted kids.
The Colorado Department of Education released the Colorado Measures of Academic Success test results on Wednesday. The assessment gauges how well students and schools are meeting state academic standards.
Scores improved from 2021 for most grades that took the math and English tests, but declined from 2019 in almost every grade level and subject area. Data shows 43.5 percent of students in 2022 met or exceeded state standards in English, and math scores improved by 4 points for a statewide average of 31.4 percent.
40.7 percent of third graders met or exceeded expectations on their 2022 English tests, up from 39.1 percent in 2021, but still down from 41.3 percent in 2019. Fifth and seventh graders who also took the exam didn't share the same gains. 30.7 percent of fourth graders met or exceeded expectations, up from 28.5 percent in 2021. 26.3 percent of sixth graders met or exceeded expectations which is up from 24.1 percent in 2021. 32.4 percent of eighth graders met or exceeded expectations, up from 29.5 percent in 2021.
"Today, we celebrate the fact that student scores were better in most cases than they were in 2021, but we continue to face the challenge of fully bringing kids back to the levels they were before the disruptions of the pandemic as well as closing the historic opportunity and achievement gaps,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “The hard work from teachers, parents and students over the past year has been remarkable, and with support from the COVID relief funds targeted at addressing lost learning opportunities, I’m confident we will continue our rebound.”
When it comes to the PSAT and SAT test scores, students showed few gains compared to prior years. With the exception of PSAT 10, the percentage of students at or above the benchmark was lower than the percentage in 2019 for both Evidenced-based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and math. Performance for students in Grade 10 improved in both EBRW and math since 2019.
The number of students participating in CMAS testing also increased from 2021. Data shows that participation levels increased in grades third through sixth to within about 5 percentage points of 2019. Participation in the seventh and eighth grades was within 10 percentage points of 2019, improving by over 20 percentage points compared to 2021.
According to the data, Colorado Springs students made significant academic gains in both math and English. 47.9 percent of all students met or exceeded expectations in English and 32.5 percent in math which is an improvement from last year.
"When we saw the CMAS scores come out, we were so relieved. Our scores are very stable, and almost back to pre-pandemic levels which makes us feel really happy because we know all of the hard work that our teachers have put in has paid off," said Allison Cortez, Chief Communications Officer, Academy School District 20.
The district implemented some new programming to help close any learning gaps for students.
"During our Professional Learning Community time (late start Wednesdays), we have a dashboard system where we are collecting that allows us to look at student, grade, and classroom data so we can start making shifts if we need too or have an intervention for a student. We've just started using the data that way, it is a new way to look at data in real-time and it has been really powerful for us," said Cortez.
"At Pioneer Elementary School, we have been really focused and intentional about the support we give our kids. We give support to all of our students. It is not just kids who are struggling, it is kids who need achievement, it is kids who who are below grade level and at grade level," said Kelly Haase, Reading Coach and Interventionist, Pioneer Elementary School.
The elementary school has utilized assessment data to inform how they teach and help students.
"First of all you need to know where kids come in, you have to know their strengths and you have to know their weaknesses. All kids, even kids who are like readers, you have to specialize on their strenghts and weakness and you have to give them the programming that they each need," said Haase.
Families interested in viewing assessment data by school district, click here.