Cherry Creek standardized testing scores change little, still above state averages

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AURORA | Student academic growth in the Cherry Creek School District slowed in the last school year across numerous metrics in data released by the Colorado Department of Education. But the fourth largest school district is still one of the higher achieving, large school districts in the state.

The CDE growth ratings are different than achievement scores. While achievement reflects the level at which students are performing at that exact moment, growth scores looks at how students performed in comparison to similar groups that had previously taken the test.

Cherry Creek saw a dip in its growth numbers for both English Language Arts and Math but both still remained close to the state average. ELA for all students in Cherry Creek came in at a score of 46, five points below its numbers the previous year. Math came in at 51, a three-point drop from the previous year. The state average for growth is set at a 50 score.

While there was a dip across the board, the district’s growth in Math was for the most part above the 50-point average set by the state.

Judy Skupa, CCSD’s assistant superintendent of performance improvement, said while the drop is only one set of data reflecting one year of growth, the district would be taking a deep dive into the data to see if there are underlying issues for the decrease in growth.

“We don’t panic when we go down or one or two points. That one or two points can be noise in the statistics,” Skupa said. “But we continually want to be better and that’s a core value of Cherry Creek. And even with when we’re up in the highest growth we have had, we always want to be raising that bar even more.”

Students who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program saw a five-point drop from the previous year’s scores in ELA, down to a score of 43, and a three-point drop in Math, down to a score of 44. Students who didn’t qualify for the program also saw a four-point drop in ELA growth, down to 48, and a three point drop in Math, down to a score of 54, still above the median score.

While CCSD had a drop in growth, the district still saw high achievement scores. For example, third graders across the district last year, 49.6-percent Met or Exceeded Expectations in ELA, higher than the state average. For third graders in CCSD, 54-percent Met or Exceeded Expectations, 14-points above the state average.

“One of the things we continue to emphasize with our students, both in this year and in years past, is the district continues to perform above the state average,” Skupa said. “We’re still a very high achieving school system and the quality of the education a child receives in Cherry Creek School District is one of the strongest in the state and I would also say in the nation.”