The Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 plans to end STAR testing next year.
The move comes after staff analyzed the assessment in predicting Colorado Measures of Academic Success scores and determined that the tests were not aligned. It also comes with complaints by teachers, who say they spend too much time on testing and data analysis, rather than on instruction.
“It’s not even just about testing for kids,” Jeanette Allen, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, said at a board meeting Thursday night. “It’s teachers looking at data.”
The school district has used STAR since 2013 to help gauge students’ academic growth. Achievement on STAR is evaluated against performance at the national level.
The district has administered interim assessments aligned with grade-level standards since 2014. STAR and the interim tests have been given at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.
While STAR determines students to be grade-level proficient if they test at the 40th percentile, the district uses a 50th percentile benchmark.
In January, district staff and a committee analyzed how well the tests were aligned with student performance on CMAS, which is required by Colorado and the U.S. The analysis was partially pushed by teacher concerns that too much time was spent on testing.
Additionally, some teachers questioned the validity of certain scores, particularly after STAR changed its user platform in winter 2017.
They found that STAR scores were not predictive, but that the district’s other interim tests had a much higher correlation, Allen said.
For reading, only 51% of students deemed proficient on STAR “met or exceeded” expectations on CMAS. For math, that number was only 28%.
“If STAR is not predicting what we say it’s predicting ... then can we eliminate it and just rely on our regular assessments?” Allen asked.
The district and assessment committee decided that they could measure the same growth and achievement data by using the district’s existing assessments, although they would need to expand some tests to obtain additional data for student subgroups, such as English language learners and gifted and talented students.
Next steps, Allen said, include updating the District Assessment Strategy with the recommendation to stop using STAR, along with creating a guidance document for assessing students in subgroups.
Other newsThe school board reviewed general fund budget. With three-quarters of the year underway, the district’s ending balance stands at $5.5 million.The board voted unanimously to renew the contract for Battle Rock Charter School.Mesa Elementary School is being reviewed by a state panel because it is a priority improvement school, Superintendent Lori Haukeness said. She plans to share findings after they are released.The board approved two new expenditures from the capital reserve fund as part of the Panthers Stadium upgrade: one for a new goal post, and another for new bleachers at the stadium and Englehart Field.The goal post will cost $8,707.50; the bleachers, $30,556.
Board members at their May meeting will vote on whether they will ask voters to approve a mill levy override in November.firstname.lastname@example.org