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Test scores show return on investment for St. Vrain students

District’s CMAS, SAT results outpace state in several areas
Student test
(Photo by Ben Mullins | Unsplash)

St. Vrain Valley School District is making notable gains on standardized testing, ahead of the state on several metrics.

On Wednesday, the state released the results of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success and SAT and PSAT scores for this year. This is the first full year of CMAS testing for St. Vrain and the entire state since 2019, since no tests were given in 2020 due to the pandemic and last year students only took either math or literacy tests based on their grade level, instead of both.

St. Vrain Executive Director of Assessment Ann Reed explained that the results looked promising for the district.

“We’re kind of looking at this as really a barometer and we’re getting close to where we were acheivement-wise back in 2019,” she said. “Plus our participation rates are really getting close to 2019 levels, so we’re really excited about that and moving forward.”

More student participation in tests increases the confidence that the results provide a representative indication of student performance, and St. Vrain outpaces the state in CMAS, PSAT and SAT participation rates.

CMAS achievement in St. Vrain by population outpaces the state in 100% of groups, with seventh grade math median growth nine percentiles higher than the state and fifth grade math up by 10 percentiles compared to the state.

Notably, the district obtained its highest third grade English and language arts score since CMAS testing began in 2015, with 46% of students meeting or exceeding expectations. That’s a 3% increase compared to 2019 and 6% over 2021.

“That was a great highlight and testament to the investment we’ve put into early literacy, our curriculum and our instruction,” Reed said.

At the high school level, St. Vrain also outscored state and national numbers on the SAT, PSAT 10 and PSAT 9. The district’s SAT total mean scale score is just three points under 2019 levels, while the state overall is below 2019 levels by 14 points, and PSAT 10 median growth outpaced the state by 4 percentiles.

Reed credits the extended instruction time that St. Vrain has been pioneering with keeping student achievement up. Programs like the Achievement Acceleration Academy, JumpStart and more have been targeting those focus areas through extended instruction time.

“That was the purposeful instruction and curriculum and extended school day to meet every students’ needs,” she said.

Looking at the school year that began this week, the district is going to continue the momentum on early literacy and keep math as a focus.

“Even though we have great growth, we’re still always focusing on math achievement and early literacy, so each student has the opportunities as they go through our system and beyond,” Reed said.

The district said it will utilize the state assessment data to ensure instructional programming, curriculum and instruction meet the needs of every student.

“Our staff has been focused on instruction and supporting our students academically through this and continue to,” Reed said. “It’s really a lot of positive energy around moving our system forward (to) build on the current achievement levels and growth levels of our students and propelling them as we continue through the school year.”