Boulder Valley School District

How BVSD educators use test scores to support individual student learning

Randy Barber

Teachers and administrators monitor student progress in a variety of ways, and look for the best approaches to support students who are struggling.

As BVSD Executive Director of Student Achievement and Program Evaluation Jonathan Dings explains, assessments, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) can be a useful part of the educators’ toolbox.

“Although test scores are just one tool we use to understand student performance, scores from standardized tests contribute to our knowledge of how well an individual is performing,” Dings said. “Overall school results provide us with helpful information about areas of growth and achievement that we should ask questions about, and give us an idea of whether all groups of students are performing at the levels we hope for.”

Additionally, BVSD will use the assessment results to inform professional development for educators, refine instructional strategies and foster student understanding of academic content. 

Why test participation matters
BVSD encourages everyone to use caution in making inferences about performance generally or changes in test scores when the percentage of students taking the test is low or/and has changed over time. BVSD’s 2018 and 2019 data is much more complete than in recent years, so it’s best to treat Spring 2018 as our baseline for understanding BVSD achievement overall and for groups.

The current level of test participation provides the district with useful data, including an apples-to-apples comparison with other school districts in Colorado that allows us to see where BVSD students are performing well, and where the district needs to improve in order to help students perform better. Teachers will use the data to refine their instruction for individual students. The data will also provide BVSD educators with the insight they need to choose curriculum and to allocate resources to better meet students’ needs, including meeting our goal to narrow achievement and opportunity gaps. Finally, the data is used to create rankings, which can impact the reputation of the district and its schools.  Learn more on our Take the Test page.


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