CSAP score results: Colorado kids' writing skills are lousy, and getting worse

The results from the thirteenth Colorado Student Assessment Program results are out, and the data that pertains to writing is anything but lucky.

Student writing scores went down in the overwhelming majority of grades -- and this trend is nothing new. Here's an excerpt from the CSAP summary:

Writing performance was assessed in grades three through ten. The writing results show decreases in the percentage of students in the Proficient and Advanced categories in seven grades (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10), with grade 8 improving by two percentage points. The writing results for grades 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10 declined over the six year period from 2005 through 2010. Grade 8 improved by four percentage points, grade 7 improved by two percentage points, and grade 5 stayed the same over the six years for writing.

Do these results reinforce the complaints voiced by some educators about the dubious nature of standardized testing? Or are they an indictment of Colorado's public schools in general? That's a debate that has been ongoing since well before CSAPs came into existence, and it'll no doubt continue long after we've substituted another test with another acronym. In the meantime, though, most of the other results are less shocking than those pertaining to writing.

Click here to read the entire CSAP summary, and here to access additional data.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts