Elementary, Middle Schools Mildly Better in Social Studies, Science Testing

Scores on statewide elementary and middle school social studies and science tests improved modestly this year compared to last year, according to results from state tests released Thursday.

Scores on statewide elementary and middle school social studies and science tests improved modestly this year compared to last year, according to results from state tests released Thursday. The full picture of 2015 Colorado testing will become clearer later this year when CDE releases results from last spring’s language arts and math tests, known as PARCC.

Nicholas Garcia / Chalkbeat Colorado

Scores on statewide elementary and middle school social studies and science tests improved modestly this year compared to last year, according to results from state tests released Thursday. The full picture of 2015 Colorado testing will become clearer later this year when CDE releases results from last spring’s language arts and math tests, known as PARCC.

The one exception was scores on the eighth grade science test, where the percentage of students meeting state expectations dropped by 3.5 points.

The percentage of students clearing the state’s proficiency bar increased by 4.8 points in fourth grade social studies, by 1 point in seventh grade social studies and by 1.2 points in fifth grade science, according to the state Department of Education.

In science, 34.8 percent of fifth graders scored high enough to be considered on track, as did 29 percent of eighth graders.

In social studies, 21.8 percent of fourth graders were labeled as having a “strong” or “distinguished” command of the subject, and 17.6 percent of seventh graders were at those levels.

The 2015 results provide the first year-to-year comparisons of student performance on the science and social studies tests. Both sets of tests were new in 2014.

“It is important to remember that this is just the second year of these tests,” said Elliott Asp, interim commissioner of education. “We expect to see future growth as teachers and students gain more experience with the standards.”

Testing opt-out rates were generally low in the elementary grades but rose in middle school. The department reported overall parent refusal rates of 2 percent for 4th grade social studies and 4.7 percent in the 7th grade. For science, the 5th grade refusal rate was 2.2 percent. The 8th grade rate was 6.2 percent.

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Continue this story and learn how the tests worked, the results from the largest 20 Colorado school districts and much more. To read Chalkbeat Colorado‘s complete report on the 2015 testing for social studies and science, including looking up your own school’s scores, click here.

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