Colorado Student Assessment Program (page 3)

— State: Colorado Department of Education
Updated on Oct 27, 2011

Can I see or get a copy of the test my child takes?

Before the test—No! Only those involved in developing and giving the test can see it before the students take it. After the test— twenty-five percent of the items are released to the public so one can see actual examples of CSAP test questions. A supervised review of the test can be arranged by the Student Assessment Unit, Colorado Department of Education.

My child tells me that the test was too hard and too long. How can that be fair?

All CSAP questions are based on the Colorado Model Content Standards. These standards in turn are a part of schools’  curricula. As a result, the skills students need to master to be successful on CSAP should be a part of each student’s daily school experiences. One reason some students comment on the difficulty of the test is that CSAP measures high standards which makes it more difficult than many other tests students take.

If my child does not make an effort to do well on his/her test, how does it affect his/her grade?

This decision is made at each school or district. However, no matter what decision the school or district makes, it is important that all students give their best on this test so they can demonstrate what they know and can do.

Why do schools take so much time to get kids ready for and to take the CSAP? Are teachers just teaching to the test and ignoring other important skills and subjects such as social studies, art, music, and physical education?

Because CSAP was designed to assess how well students have met the Colorado Model Content Standards, teachers should be preparing students for CSAP through their everyday curriculum. It is expected that teachers will teach all content areas for which there are state standards. The skills in one subject area, such as reading, are supported by the standards in all other content areas. These content areas include reading, writing, math, science, history, geography, civics, economics, foreign language, music, and physical education. As an example of curriculum integration, while students are reading in any of the content areas such as math, history, or art, they use this information to understand a math problem or to write reports about history or art or to reflect on their learning. This information in turn may be a point for classroom discussions.

I am disappointed that my child scored “Partially Proficient.” Does that mean he/she failed the test and is below grade level in that subject?

The Colorado Model Content Standards are rigorous standards. Colorado educators who set the performance levels held very high expectations for all students. Many students who perform at the partially proficient level are demonstrating considerable academic skills and abilities; however, their performance on CSAP was not consistently high enough to meet the CSAP rigorous standards.

What happens with the results of the CSAP? Who gets to see my child’s CSAP score?

Results will generate information about how well schools and students are performing statewide, using a common yardstick—the Colorado Model Content Standards. The Colorado Department of Education is required by law to report CSAP results for the state and for all local school districts. Individual student scores are released only to the school and school district. Teachers are encouraged to share this information with each student’s parents. School, district, and statewide scores are public records; individual scores are not public records.

Which test is most important: CSAP, Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)/ TerraNova? My child did well on one and not the others. Which tests should we believe in?

The tests should be used in a body of evidence to determine a child’s academic achievement. Norm-referenced tests such as the ITBS or TerraNova give parents and teachers an idea about how students compare to other students in the nation. The CSAP evaluates each individual student’s knowledge of Colorado Model Content Standards and his/her ability to apply that knowledge.

What are accommodations?

An accommodation allows students to have access to the CSAP without changing the expectations. A student can use an  ccommodation if he/she has received that same accommodation in class for at least three months. For example, a teacher may read a math problem to a student. The accommodation is allowed for math because the student is not being tested on his/her reading ability. The accommodation is not allowed for reading because the student is being tested on his/her reading ability.

Is CSAP available in Spanish?

The CSAP assessments are available in Spanish for 3rd and 4th grade reading and writing.

What happens if a school does not score well on the CSAP?

According to recent legislation, low-performing schools can obtain assistance from the Colorado Department of Education in the development of a School Improvement Plan. Consistently low-performing schools eventually will be converted to charter schools.


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