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County's students show strong growth

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Growth reports issued by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) indicate Delta County students are outpacing students statewide when it comes to year-to-year growth in English language arts and math. The only exception is fourth grade math, which is just one percentage point lower than the state.

Growth is particularly notable among students who qualify for free/reduced lunches, and gifted and talented students in the district, who typically score high on achievement tests.

In Delta County, 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches -- up from 36 percent just three years ago.

Assistant superintendent Kurt Clay says the data "really speaks to the quality of teachers we have within our district, because that's where the groundwork is done."

At the classroom level, teachers are analyzing data and tailoring instruction to meet each student's needs, Clay said.

The school district has also been able to hire interventionists to work with elementary students who are struggling with reading.

"In the classroom, our teachers are doing an excellent job with day-to-day growth," he commented.

According to the CDE, growth rates for individual students are calculated by analyzing students' Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) scores in English language arts and math over consecutive years. A student's growth percentile (ranging from 1 to 99) indicates how a student's performance changed over time, relative to students with a similar score history on the state assessments. School and district growth rates are determined by the growth percentiles from individual students, specifically the median (or score in the middle) student growth percentile. Median Growth Percentiles (MGP) are calculated for the whole school, by grade, and by different student groups. Higher median growth percentiles indicate higher growth rates for the typical students in those groups. As a point of reference, the state median growth percentile for any grade, overall, is 50.

While achievement is focused on the student's performance at a point in time, growth provides an indication of what happens in between the assessments. According to the CDE, looking at both achievement and growth results provides a more in-depth picture of performance.

Growth summaries for individual schools in the district can be found on the Colorado Department of Education website, www.cde.state.co.us/schoolview.

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