Center of Focus, 04/11

Future focused
The Colorado Academic Standards set statewide expectations of what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards incorporate future skills and essential knowledge that our students will need to be successful in life, college and careers. Our students are getting ready to start the assessments that are aligned to these standards and help us determine if students have mastered grade-level expectations by the end of the year. Meaningful and relevant assessments are at the heart of making Colorado’s school improvement efforts work. They ensure student learning is on track and that students will graduate prepared for college and the workforce.
Assessments also ensure teachers have data to accurately diagnose student progress and to adapt their instruction accordingly. This data provides valuable information that enables educators to deepen their understanding of student progress from grade to grade and identify any gaps in progress so they can address them at the earliest opportunity. Our students have been working hard throughout the year. Teachers have been focused and intentional in the work they are doing in the classrooms, ensuring our students are provided with the best educational experience possible.

Focus on the positive
There are a number of reasons why we need to set a positive tone for our students and community when it comes to the assessments. It’s important that everyone understands the reason for the tests. Statewide assessments provide valuable information to all stakeholders- students, parents, districts and taxpayers about overall academic performance. Not only does it provide valuable information that will help educators to be more effective with their instruction, the information is also used by the state to evaluate the performance of districts using a common set of performance indicators. Leadership teams use the information to work on improvement plans at the school and district level. This information allows us to have data driven discussions that includes data analysis and identification of trends.
From this information, we are able to identify performance challenges and then establish action steps to address these challenges. Summative assessments provide snapshots of what students know and can do in core academic areas. They help students and families know how students are performing on standards compared to peers across the state. They also help determine how they are growing over time. Students can use this information to signal competence for graduation and placement purposes into credit bearing courses at postsecondary institutions. Our students’ school experience is much more than just a test, but it’s important for everyone to understand the why behind what we are doing. Our core beliefs are centered on our purpose which is to increase academic achievement for ALL students. We believe that all students can achieve at high levels and be successful in life and the way we do that is by providing our students with the necessary support in all areas — instructionally, emotionally and physically.
It’s anticipated that in 2020, 74 percent of all jobs in Colorado, will require education beyond high school.
We want to make sure our students are prepared with the skills and knowledge they need so that they can be successful in whatever they choose. They will be able to use inquiry, critical thinking, and creative processes to solve problems. They will be able to transfer concepts and skills to new situations. They will have the knowledge base to speak, think, work and discuss like mathematicians, artists, scientists, authors and historians. It is a big task and it will be challenging along the way, but we are all committed to excellence in all we do, every day. That’s the Viking WAY!!


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