Boulder Valley School District

BVSD students participate in testing, outperform the state

Students taking a test - file photo.
Randy Barber

Results show high achievement and large achievement gaps

BOULDER - This week the Colorado Department of Education released the results of the Spring 2019 Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). It shows that BVSD students participated in CMAS testing at a rate comparable to Spring 2018, at nearly the same rate as students in Colorado at the elementary level (96%), and approaching the Colorado rate at middle level (87%). Meanwhile, BVSD high school participation is strong with the PSAT (90% grade 9, 91% grade 10) and SAT (88%).

“We thank our families for encouraging their students to Take the Test,” said Jonathan Dings, BVSD’s Executive Director of Student Achievement and Program Evaluation. “By participating, we have a far better snap shot of how our students are performing from school-to-school and across the state.”

RELATED STORY: How we use test scores to support individual student learning

Individual student score reports on CMAS are being distributed to parents via Infinite Campus Parent Portal on August 15. Paper copies of these reports will be available upon request at school buildings. 

PSAT and SAT results are communicated by the test publisher directly to students.   

BVSD continues tradition of high achievement
As a group, BVSD students continue to outperform the state by a wide margin in math, science and English Language Arts achievement and on postsecondary readiness measures. On average, our students make somewhat greater year-to-year growth at the elementary level than their counterparts statewide, but slightly lower growth than last year. Students at the middle level improved their growth a bit from 2018 to 2019, but still have a slightly lower median growth percentile than the state, overall and generally by group.  High school growth results have recently been higher in BVSD than statewide, but won’t be available for Spring 2019 until the last week of August.

Additionally, BVSD students receiving special education services have appreciably higher achievement than their counterparts statewide. This group of students continues--as it has in the past--to make growth at or above the typical level of students receiving special education services across the state at the elementary level. 

Gaps remain for Latino, ELD and low income students
According to the CMAS results, achievement by BVSD Latino students, and by those who are receiving or have received English Language Development services or are eligible for free or reduced lunch, is substantially lower than for the district as a whole, with growth lagging as well.

“I am proud that many students across BVSD continue to score extremely well on our state assessments. At the same time, my team and I remain committed to addressing the gaps that are still reflected in the results,” said BVSD Superintendent Rob Anderson. “Our new Strategic Plan is ambitious, aiming to tackle this challenge. I look forward to the day in our district where you won’t be able to tell the difference in performance between students based on income or race.” 

The test data shows that these gaps, while more pronounced in Boulder Valley, are evident across the state.

In fact, BVSD students in these groups did perform similarly to their peers in these three groups at the state level on CMAS, and higher than state counterparts on PSAT and SAT. Growth for these groups in BVSD is generally comparable to growth by students in the same groups statewide at the elementary level, but lower at the middle level.  In addition, emerging bilingual students made ACCESS growth that exceeds the state, a median growth percentile of 53.  

What we’re doing to reduce disparities in our results
Considered as a whole, these results underscore the need for action.  The first phase of BVSD’s new Strategic Plan addresses this need through six initiatives taking place over a five year period: 

  • Create a standards-based scope and sequence for PreK-12 
  • Define and implement common and aligned instructional practices
  • Create a tiered system of school requirements, supports, and accountability metrics which drive the allocation of resources
  • Establish a system for strategically managing existing partnerships and building new partnerships
  • Define and put into practice culturally responsive principles and best practices that challenge inequity and bias
  • Create a system to monitor and assess academic return on investment for current and future programs 

BVSD believes our Strategic Plan – beginning with these specific initiatives and going on to include additional action around instructional best practice, resource management, community engagement, and cultivating a positive and inclusive culture – will provide what’s necessary to improve fundamental practices, select effective programs and partnerships, and target resources to areas of greatest need.  


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