AURORA | Cherry Creek School District’s latest standardized test scores showed no significant changes from the previous school year, school board members were told yesterday.. 

The board members and dozens of community members gathered at Infinity Middle School during a board meeting Monday evening to discuss slow improvement on student test scores, which were released by the state in August. All tests are taken in the spring. The state’s standardized test, Colorado Measure of Academic Success, is taken by elementary and middle school students. Two national tests, the PSAT and SAT, are taken by high school students. 

Norm Alerta, director of assessment and performance analysis, delivered a data-heavy presentation to the board.

CMAS test results from the 2021-22 school year to the 2022-23 school year showed no significant changes. About half of Cherry Creek students met or maintained grade level expectations in English. Less than half met or maintained grade level expectations in math. 

The high school students’ test scores showed some improvement. 

The number of district high school students who met grade-level expectations in math increased, with significant change seen in ninth and 12th grade students. There were no significant changes in the number of high school students who met expectations in reading and writing. 

Overall, recent state data shows that about half of Cherry Creek students met or exceeded grade level expectations in English language arts while 39.9% of students met or exceeded grade level expectations in math. However, there are sizable differences among district schools.

Cherry Creek’s Challenge School pulled ahead of the curve, with 88% of students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations in English and 85% of the students meeting or exceeding expectations in math. 

Also in Cherry Creek, however, only 17% of Prairie Middle School students met or exceeded expectations in English and only 8% of students met or exceeded expectations in math. 

Superintendent Chris Smith and several board directors reiterated that test scores were just one metric for student performance. 

Director Kristen Allen questioned if students’ test scores are indicators of future success. Alerta said that it was difficult to answer because you had to first define and quantify the meaning of success, which could vary from future income to future happiness. 

He explained that typically, the tests are used to predict the likelihood of doing well in certain college classes. 

Alerta also said that parents have opted their children out of taking the tests, which affect the district’s overall test scores. When Director Angela Garland asked why parents are opting out of the tests, Alerta was only able to provide anecdotal evidence. He said that this is a trend seen in other school districts, and that some parents don’t prioritize standardized tests. 

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  1. Do you realize that “grade level” is a totally artificial, subjective construct? Is it “grade level” for students coming from families with an income of $100,000 or $20,000, since it is an established fact that test performance correlates more strongly with socioeconomic status than any other factor? Is it “grade level” for a student who has a parent who makes him or her a good breakfast before leaving for school or for a student whose parent/parents have to work sixty hours a week to provide for their family as the cost of living ever increases and wages for the bottom eighty percent of workers stagnate or drop? Is it “grade level” for a student who has access to all the most modern electronics at home, and parents to help him or her with them and their schoolwork or is it for students who aren’t on line and whose parents are so exhausted from long hours of work and just maintaining the basics of life that they have no time or energy to help?

    Or is “grade level” another tool for elites to blame public education for all of their failures? Public education didn’t get us into failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were insanely expensive in blood and treasure. Public education didn’t crash the world economy and cause the “Great Recession” through unpunished greed and fraud. Public education didn’t create a health care system that is by far the world’s most expensive while producing results far inferior to many other countries that spend far less. Where are the stories on failure to meet “grade levels” in these and so many other areas?

  2. Crazy, sad statistics. Fathers and mothers, are you prioritizing your children’s education? Are you supportive of their teachers and working as a team to optimize your child’s learning? Do you send them to school rested and ready to learn? Do you create a safe and loving home? Your child’s educational, emotional, social, and physical growth depends first and foremost on YOU.

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