CSAP testing begins for TJ freshmen and sophomores on Tuesday.
by Vince Crespin
The state-mandated, standardized test, CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) has been scheduled to be taken by all 9th and 10th graders in the state of Colorado on March 4-6 and 11-13, with the following week being used for test makeups.
Historically, Thomas Jefferson High School has scored well on the CSAP tests. “We, as a school, traditionally do well. We had a bit of an off year this past year,” said Assistant Principal Scott Lessard, who is in charge of running the test each March. TJ, for many years now, has been in stiff competition with both East High School and George Washington High School for the best in the district regarding test results. Compared to the rest of the state, TJ has received an “Average” for their score, while others in the state, such as Cherry Creek High School receive an "Excellent" rating.
Many things about the CSAP have been changed over the years, including which subjects students are tested on, and by which grade and how long it should be taken. However, this year will follow the same format as last year. The freshman classes will take math and computation, and writing and reading comprehension. The sophomores are required to take math and computation, writing and reading comprehension as well as an additional science section.
The test is a review of what the students were supposed to have learned in the year before, and tests how well each student comprehended the material. Based on the scores of every student who took the test, each school gets evaluated for how the student body as a whole does, and the progression from the previous year is evaluated, as well. In addition, each section is broken down to see the increase or decrease in each subject.
Each school uses the CSAP test results for two different things. First it lets them know which students need help with which specific courses, and how much help they really need. If a student gets below a partially proficient or a (PP) as the CSAP labels it, they will be required to take a double block in that subject in order to get them caught up, causing them to lose an elective period. The other thing the scores are used for is the amount of funding each school gets. The more students who take the test, the more money that school receives. On the individual basis, each student’s scores are taken and studied. If one performs lower than the given standard, then the student is the placed in a blocked class (extended period) for the subject he or she struggled with, in order to try to get caught up.
“Of course I always want the School to do well, but I am confident that we will be one of the best in the district as we usually are. The faculty and I hold the students to high standards, so I believe that comes through at test time,” said an optimistic Principal Sandra Just.
The freshmen will begin their testing on Tuesday, March 4th with two sessions of math, while the tenth graders have a full day of science. On Wednesday the freshmen take their third and final math evaluation, along with a writing test, the tenth grade concludes their science portion, and begins with their first period math section. On Thursday the freshmen conclude their writing and are done for the week, while the tenth graders finish with two sections of math. The following Tuesday the freshmen take an extended reading evaluation after their break. Sophomores take two writing tests on their first day back. On the second to last day the ninth graders take a reading quiz first, followed by the final writing exam. The tenth graders take the first two of three reading tests for that day. On the final day, March 13th freshmen take the third and final reading test, while the tenth graders finish up their CSAP career with a final reading quiz and a final writing quiz.