Thousands of struggling Colorado public school students unlikely to catch up

Thousands of Colorado school children are behind in math, reading, writing and science – and they might never catch up.

This week, I-News helped our media partners throughout Colorado tell the story.

I-News analyzed data from the Colorado Student Assessment Program for our media partners.The CSAP data are thousands of numbers that show how students in grades 3 through 10 perform in reading, writing, math and science. I-News boiled the numbers down, then shared them with our media partners statewide.

Here’s some of what we found:

Nearly 87 percent of Colorado public school students who fail to meet state education standards in math are not on pace to catch up, according to an I-News analysis of the latest standardized testing results.

More than 100,000 public school students in Colorado are not on track to become proficient in math or writing within three years, or by the time they reach the 10th grade.

More than 80,000 students are substandard in reading, and the percent not catching up rose this year.

Jo O’Brien, assistant commissioner of standards and assessments for the Colorado Department of Education, said the state is trying to develop new strategies to help students who can’t catch up.

“We’ve gone as far as we can go,” O’Brien said. “Students not scoring proficient can’t seem to rise and tend to stay behind through graduation. We believe the new business of education will be centered around the students who are in the catchup category.”

An I-News analysis of the state’s scores on how well schools are advancing students to meet the state standards found:

• 134,681 students, or 86.5% of those who scored unsatisfactory or partially proficient, were not on track to achieve proficiency in state standards in math within three years or by the time they reach the 10th grade. Last year, 87% were not on pace to achieve proficiency.

• 122,853 students, or 72% of those not meeting state writing standards, were not on pace to catch up. Despite the high numbers, it was an improvement over last year when 76% were not on track to reach writing proficiency.

• 80,999 students, or 71% of deficient students in reading, were not on pace to reach proficiency. That was an increase from 65% last year.

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