Student achievement and growth results in reading and math 2018-2022 — with no results for 2020 when students didn’t take the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test due to COVID-19 — were discussed June 2 during the final Jeffco Board of Education meeting of the 2021-22 school year.
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Drilling down into the data, Deputy Superintendent Kim LeBlanc-Esparza reviewed results for students in grades 3-10.
Before LeBlanc-Esparza started her presentation, Board President Stephanie Schooley reminded the audience of District policy stating the following:
“Every school in the District will ensure that every student has the opportunity to work toward being connected to career, college and/or life aspirations with the expectation that every student will demonstrate a year or more of growth on their way to mastery of Colorado academic standards,” she said.
Looking at Reading Achievement Trends by grade in grades 3-5, data showed that students actually did slightly better in 2022 than in 2021, with scores in the High/High Average range coming in anywhere from 1-3 percentage points higher than the previous year. However, the 2022 scores for Grades 3 and 5 were slightly lower than 2018 scores. Between 2021 and 2022, sixth graders showed a slight increase at the High/High Average level, while seventh graders showed no increase and High/High Average scores among eighth graders actually declined by 2 percentage points.
For grades 6-8, reading numbers paint a different picture. For example in 2018, 54% of Grade 6 students scored in the High/High Average categories. In 2022, that number dropped to 48%. For students in Grade 8, the decline was even greater. 12% fewer 8th graders scored in the High/High Average categories in 2022, compared to 2018.
Grades 9 and 10 reading scores were a mixed bag. Grade 9 fared a bit worse, with a two percentage point decrease in High/High Average categories and a one point increase in Low/Low Average, compared to 2021 scores. Students in Grade 10 showed a two point increase in High/High Average and no change in Low/Low Average.
In her presentation, LeBlanc-Esparza said what jumped out to her about the MAP Spring 2022 trends is that the district still has a significant number of middle school students at average, low average and low achievement performance levels.
“As someone who works with our academic leadership team, this is a place where we really have to dig in and ask ourselves ‘What are we going to do to address the needs of these students specifically, when they come back in the fall, to start to address the impact of the last two years,’” she said.
In math, things look slightly better for grades 3 and 4, with noticeable increases in performance at the High/High Average levels, between 2021 and 2022. In fact, 2022 math scores are also higher in grades 3 and 4 than they were in 2018 as well. Fifth graders showed slightly less improvement in math between 2021 and 2022, with a small decrease in High/High Average scores from 2018 results.
LeBlanc-Esparza noted that due to “re-norming” of test scores in 2020, it makes it hard to say how much students have actually bounced back.
Finally, LeBlanc-Esparza looked at Title I vs. non-Title I scores. To be clear, the differences are drastic. But perhaps the most concerning aspect of the data is how little difference there is between 2018 and 2022 Title I numbers. While the pandemic clearly had a strong detrimental impact, especially at the middle school level, the 2018 numbers weren’t much better.
According to LeBlanc-Esparza, the data did reveal some good news. She said across the board, from grades 3-10, fall-to-spring, median growth in reading increased for all grade levels compared to the 2020-21 school year. Grades 3 and 4 experienced the highest fall-to-spring median growth. Fall-to-Spring math scores showed good growth levels as well, increasing among all grade levels compared to the 2020-21 school year.
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