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CMAS tests show few exceptions to decline in participation, performance

Results from standardized student progress tests in spring display a general drop in participation and performance statewide, but a smaller drop in performance in Southwest Colorado. (Associated Press file)
Student test scores fall in Southwest Colorado, but not in every category

Results from standardized student progress tests in spring – the first detailed look at student achievement since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – display a general drop in participation and performance statewide, but a smaller drop in performance in Southwest Colorado.

In Southwest Colorado, some scores improved from 2019, when Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments were last administered.

Students in Colorado were assessed in third, fifth and seventh grade English language arts; fourth, sixth and eighth grade mathematics; and eighth grade science.

This year, the CMAS tests were not administered in fourth, sixth and eighth grade English language arts; third, fifth and seventh grade mathematics; fifth grade and high school-level science or social studies.

Student participation in 2021 CMAS testing fell dramatically. For example, 76.2% of third grade students statewide took the ELA test in 2021, down from 96.9% in 2019.

The low participation rate can make results less representative of the larger student body.

“As participation rates decrease, challenges with interpreting results increase,” the Colorado Department of Education said in a news release.

Here is a breakdown of participation and mean score by test offered for local districts.

Third grade English language arts

Statewide in 2021, 76.2% of students participated in the English language arts test, with a mean score of 736 out of a possible 850. In 2019, the mean score was 740.

Statewide, 39.1% of students met or exceeded expectations on the ELA test, a decrease of 2.2 percentage points from 2019.

In Durango School District 9-R, 29.9% of students met or exceeded expectations on ELA, a decline of 8.7 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield School District 10Jt-R, 28.7% of students met or exceeded expectations on ELA, an increase of 12.8 percentage points from 2019.

In Ignacio School District 11-JT, 9.7% of students met or exceeded expectations on ELA, a decline of 1.2 percentage points from 2019.

In Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1, 32.3% of students met or exceeded expectations on ELA, an improvement of 7.2 percentage points compared with 2019 results.

In Dolores School District RE-4A, 18.9% of students met or exceeded expectations on ELA, a decrease of 24.4 percentage points from 2019.

Fifth grade English language arts

Statewide, 74.4% of students participated in the ELA test in 2021, with a mean score of 746 out of a possible 850. This is down just one point from the mean score of 747 in 2019.

Statewide, 47.2% of students met or exceeded expectations on the ELA test, compared with 48.4% of fifth graders in 2019.

In Durango, 53.6% of students met or exceeded expectations, an increase of 0.7 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 28.7% of students met or exceeded expectations, a 2.1 decrease in percentage points from 2019.

In Ignacio, 17.1% of students met or exceeded expectations, a 6.6 decrease in percentage points from 2019.

In Cortez, 34.3% of students met or exceeded expectations on the ELA test, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 51.9% of students met or exceeded expectations on the ELA test, an increase of 14.8 percentage points from 2019.

Seventh grade English language arts

Statewide, 63.7% of students participated in the test, with a mean score of 742. In 2019, the mean seventh grade ELA score was 745.

This year, 42.6% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a drop of 3.9 percentage points from 2019.

In Durango, 38.9% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 6.4 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 28.7% of students again met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 26.5 percentage points from 2019.

In Ignacio, 37.5% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 14.8 percentage points from 2019.

In Cortez, 24.4% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 1.8 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 25.9% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 9.6 percentage points from 2019.

Fourth grade mathematics

Statewide, 75.7% of students participated in the test, with a mean score of 729. The mean score in 2019 was 735. And 28.5% of fourth graders in Colorado met or exceeded expectations, down 5.1 percentage points from 2019.

In Durango, 22.3% of students met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 15.5% of students met or exceeded expectations, an increase of 0.8 percentage point from 2019.

In Ignacio, 15% of students met or exceeded expectations, an increase of 15% from 2019 in which no percentage of students met or exceeded expectations in fourth grade mathematics.

More Cortez students met or exceeded expectations on this test this year – 20.2%, an increase of 7.6 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 37.5% of students met or exceeded expectations, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from 2019.

Sixth grade mathematics

Statewide, 68.6% of students participated in the test, with a mean score of 727, down from 732 in 2019.

Overall, 24.1% of sixth graders in Colorado met or exceeded expectations this year, a decrease of 5.4 percentage points from 2019.

In Durango, 17.3% met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 6.9 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 20.2% of student met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 5.2 percentage points from 2019.

No number of students in Ignacio met or exceeded expectations in the category of sixth grade mathematics, a decrease of 9.8 percentage points from 2019.

In Cortez, 13.6% of students met or exceeded expectations on the sixth grade mathematics assessment, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 7.8% met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 11.4 percentage points from 2019.

Eighth grade mathematics

Statewide, 57.9% of students participated in the test. The mean score, 730, fell from 736 in 2019.

In 2021, 29.5% of eighth graders statewide met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 7.4 percentage points from 2019.

In Durango, 25.6% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 13.3 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 21.9% met or exceeded expectations on the test, an increase of 3.5 percentage points from 2019.

In Ignacio, 11.6% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from 2019.

In Cortez, 14.4% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 7.6 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 17.5% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, an increase of 2.5 percentage points from 2019.

Eighth grade science

Statewide, 54.6% of students participated in the test, with a mean score of 568. The mean scale score in 2019 was 580.

Statewide, 26.4% of students met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 5.1 percentage points from 31.5% in 2019.

In Durango, 25.4% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 14.2 percentage points from 2019.

In Bayfield, 30.5% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, an increase of 12.1 increase in percentage points from 2019.

In Ignacio, 11.4% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 7.8 percentage points from 2019.

In Cortez, 13.2% of students met or exceeded expectations on the test, a decrease of 1.3 percentage points from 2019.

In Dolores, 21.6% of students met or exceeded expectations, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from 2019.

Durango Herald Staff Writer Christian Burney contributed to this report.

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