RANGELYI The Rangely School Board addressed several topics at its meeting on Sept. 9, however, the main topic was discussing district performance on TCAP (the yearly state-mandated test), how the district should respond to the scores and how the scoring will impact the district’s accreditation.
Superintendent Matt Scoggins presented the board with a brief summary of the Colorado public school accreditation process.
A school may be classified by the state as one of five categories: accredited with distinction; accredited; accredited with improvement plan; accredited with priority improvement; or turn around. The bulk of the criteria used to place a school are based on TCAP scores with some consideration given to growth, graduation and dropout rates as well as ACT scores.
In the 2013/2014 school year, Rangely received a score of accredited. However with the drop in last year’s TCAP scores, Scoggins told the board he is anticipating a drop to accredited with improvement plan for the coming year.
Scoggins also told the board, “In a small district, a few low-scoring students can really impact a school’s scores,” but, “we can improve on this.”
Scoggins said the district needs to determine what is needed to improve, whether it’s better resources or a better way of teaching.
The process of creating an improvement plan, which will eventually have to be submitted to the Colorado Department of Education, will involve all the district’s principals, the superintendent and BOCES director outlining goals and strategies to achieve those goals.
The news of the impact of TCAP scores caused a lively discussion on testing within the district. The board agreed unanimously that Rangely students are over-assessed.
Board member Kurt Douglas told the board, “We put too much stock in these numbers,” and that he is concerned about the impact the discussion of the data has on teachers.
Douglas said, “It hurts teachers and creates a huge morale problem; it’s ridiculous.”
New board member Joyce Key also felt that it is important that the district not beat up teachers with low scoring areas, but instead provide help and resources. The board discussed at length the state requirements for testing and what wiggle room there may be to reduce assessment.
The board requested that Scoggins research more about legal requirements around testing, teachers’ feelings about the usefulness of each test and how much data is truly needed.
The Rangely School Board will meet again to continue discussion in October.