School district receives Growth Model summary data

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released the 2008 Colorado Growth Model summary data for districts and schools on Aug. 21., and Archuleta County’s students are “making good growth,” according to Assistant Superintendent Bill Esterbrook. “But the results indicate that in our district, we have a lot of work to do.”

The data from the Colorado Growth Model Summary are garnered from the results of the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP).

The growth model provides a means for educators to determine how much growth a student has made from one year to the next; in addition, the model compares each student’s performance to students across the state with similar CSAP scores, and places the student in a growth percentile.

“We can see, how did this student do compared with the rest of Colorado?” said Esterbrook.

State and district-wide data are available to the public, but the scores of individual students are protected by privacy laws and available only to educators. Esterbrook said the data will give teachers a “good idea of where their kids are.”

The data are available for grades four through 10, and consist of reading, writing, and math categories.

In 2008, the area with the highest local growth percentile is sixth-grade math, with 67.5 percent growth (meaning 32.5 percent of sixth-graders across Colorado made better growth). This number leapt from 39 percent in 2007.

The 10th-grade math fell in at the lowest, with a 32nd growth percentile, a steep drop from 58.5 percent in 2007 and 72.5 in 2006.

Esterbrook said that, in most areas, district students are achieving the typical growth level of 50 percent or higher.

“But there are areas that definitely need to grow,” he said. “Or areas that show above typical growth, but have a drop from the previous year.”

According to Esterbrook, the growth model helps teachers keep track of individual students, but “the crux of the thing” is that the model allows the district to examine where programs and achievement plans are working, and where they are not. Programs that are working will be supported and perhaps expanded, and those that are not will be examined.

This is the first year the growth model summaries have been reported, so Esterbrook said schools will not be rated. However, in future years, each school will get a rating: high achievement with high growth, high achievement with low growth, low achievement with high growth, or low achievement with low growth.

“It’s going to really allow districts to look at areas that are succeeding, areas where we need support, and the needs of each kid,” said Esterbrook.