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Jeffco 2017 CMAS Results: New Growth High

Boy with glasses smiling in classroom

Jeffco Public Schools’ student Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) results released in August show student growth outpaced the state average. Simply put, growth is the measure of how much progress students made compared to their academic peers from one year to the next; the state compares median growth of individual schools and school districts. Jeffco’s median growth improved in English Language Arts in all grade levels, and Math improved in all but two grade levels. Jeffco Public Schools has over a 95% participation rate in CMAS tests, demonstrating the test results are an accurate measure of the student population.

Drake Middle School is one example of impressive growth scores. Drake has scored more than 5 percentile points over the CMAS state average in both English Language Arts and Math two years in a row. "We have highly skilled teachers who plan collaboratively using data to adjust their instruction, based on individual student needs," says Principal Rod Pugnetti. "This has led to great student success in state testing—but more importantly, our students have proven to be high school ready."

In addition to the overall growth percentile increases, students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) showed Math growth increases and male students showed English Language Arts growth increases.

For more information, view the presentations to the Board of Education (items 2.01 and 8.01) or the full CMAS results from the Colorado Department of Education.

CMAS 2017 Growth Results Chart

Why the Jeffco Growth is Impressive

To better understand median growth and why it is an important indicator for the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) results, let’s isolate the data of one fictitious student, Julia. Julia is a 5th grade student who scored a 700 scale score the previous spring on the 4th grade Math CMAS assessment. This score determines Julia’s "academic peers," or students who also scored around a 700 on their 4th grade math assessment. In the spring of her 5th grade year, when Julia takes the 5th grade CMAS, her score will now be compared to that of her academic peers from previous years.

If there were 10,000 students in Colorado who also scored around a 700 on their 4th grade Math assessment the previous year, all of these students' scores on the 5th grade Math assessment will be ordered from highest to lowest with the student with the 5,000th highest score representing the 50th percentile in growth. This student represents the 50th growth percentile because half of the students who scored around a 700 the previous year scored higher and half scored lower than the 5,000th student score. So, if Julia scores an 800 on her 5th grade assessment, and this score is higher than 9,000 of her academic peers, she would be in the 90th growth percentile.

The growth percentile metric, by design, requires that half the students be at or below the 50th percentile and half above the 50th percentile. A district—especially one the size of Jeffco—that demonstrates median growth percentiles above the 50th percentile (Jeffco moved up to 52nd in English Language Arts and 53rd in Math) is demonstrating that its students are growing and learning more each year than their academic peers around the state. Jeffco’s achievement exceeds that of the state, and growth percentiles above the 50th percentile show that Jeffco is widening the gap between its performance and that of the state.

Schools all over Colorado are working tirelessly to improve learning outcomes for their students and communities, and the fact that Jeffco students grow faster than their peers is a testament to the work and efforts of Jeffco educators, and all those that create a climate encouraging academic growth. Thank you to Jeffco families, staff, students, and school communities—let's keep learning, let's keep growing!

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