This week, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) will present the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessment results from spring 2016. CMAS consists of science, social studies, English language arts, and math tests (the ELA and math assessments were developed in partnership with the PARCC consortia). The CMAS assessments are aligned to Colorado’s Academic Standards and were designed by expert educators from multiple states, including many from Colorado. They are the academic “check-up” for students, schools, and districts and are designed to help educators and parents understand a student’s progress to being college- or career-ready.
Last year, we reminded people that it’s impossible to compare scores between the new CMAS test and previous assessments. Since this is the second year that Colorado students took CMAS, however, we will be able to compare them to last year’s results to learn how our students have progressed. Results from the CMAS test allow parents to see how well their children are being prepared for life after high school and will allow schools and districts to see what’s working well and where they can make system improvements.
We will also be able to monitor the state’s progress in closing the “achievement gap,” which is a term used to describe the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. Unfortunately, minority and low-income students’ academic progress is lower than their higher-income and white peers. CMAS scores are meant to be informative for parents, teachers, and principals to gain a greater understanding of how well their schools are helping children reach educational benchmarks. With the information garnered from assessment results, parents are able to make an educated decision about how to support their children’s learning and even which schools will be best for them.
After the 2016 results are released on Thursday, we will have a better picture of our schools’ progress over the last year. In the meantime, check out Climb Higher Colorado’s website to learn more about the standards and assessments.