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Durango School District 9-R shares standardized testing results

District focused on filling learning gaps in fourth grade math caused by COVID-19 pandemic
Durango School District 9-R 11th graders scored 22% above the state average benchmark for science. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Durango School District 9-R’s third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students exceeded the state percentage in five of six categories for Colorado Measures of Academic Success testing last year.

During a board of education meeting Tuesday, district staff members discussed results of CMAS, PSAT and SAT test scores.

The district has been steadily trying to get student test scores back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic caused many students to learn from home for parts of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

Notable percentages were Park Elementary fourth graders scoring 20% above the state average in English Language Arts, The Juniper School third graders scoring 30% above the state average for ELA and Riverview Elementary fifth graders scoring 19% above the state average.

“I just wanted to say huge accolades to Juniper and Park, who could go above the state average for all three grade levels tested that's huge for English language arts,” said 9-R Board of Education President Kristin Smith.

As a district, third graders scored 5% above the state average of met/exceeds standards of 40%, while fourth graders scored 4% below the state average of 33%.

Executive Director of Curriculum Laurie Rossback said during her presentation Tuesday that the district is still looking at how to fill gaps for students who were kindergartners when COVID-19 kept students out of the classroom in the spring of 2020.

However, two notable points for the school district were that fourth grade students from Fort Lewis Mesa and Park Elementary scored well above the state average in math. Fort Lewis Mesa scored 21% above the state average, while Park Elementary scored 19% above the state average.

Rossback noted that Park was much larger than Fort Lewis Mesa and that it was positive to see schools with vastly different populations receive high scores in math.

In science, fifth graders scored 3% above the state average, eight graders scored a slight 1% above the state, and 11th graders scored 22% above the state average for meeting/exceeding standards at 25%. Last year, the district implemented its new science curriculum, which is supposed to provide research-based learning opportunities with academic resources to encourage engagement with students.

However, middle school students in seventh and eighth grade both scored under the state average for met/exceeded test scores by 3%.

“There was significant amount of variability and our goal really is to ensure that we reduce variability across all schools and that all of our schools are aimed at some of those higher percentage points,” Rossback said.

Superintendent said during the meeting that dips and variability in test scores are to be expected. Compared with the state averages, the district appears to be faring well.

For PSAT testing, Durango School District’s ninth graders exceeded the state and national average for evidence-based reading and writing and math. Fifty-three percent of ninth grade students met both benchmarks, while 44% of 10th graders met both bench marks.

The national average for ninth graders for both benchmarks met is 39% while the average for 10th graders is 31%.

For SAT scores, 43% of the district’s 11th graders met both benchmarks for ERW and math, exceeding the national average of 28% and the state average of 34%.


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