Boulder Valley School District

More students participated in CMAS last spring, providing BVSD with valuable information about student performance

Randy Barber

BVSD continues to outperform the state in every measure according to 2018 CMAS results

BOULDER - Last spring, the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) encouraged its students to “Take the Test” and it appears that many students heeded the call.

This week the Colorado Department of Education released the results of last spring’s Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). It shows that BVSD students participated in CMAS testing at a much higher rate in Spring 2018 than in any of the three previous years -- and at nearly the same rate as students in Colorado at the elementary level (95%) and approaching the Colorado rate at middle level (86%). BVSD high school participation is strong on PSAT (92% grade 9, 91% grade 10) and SAT (88%).

The higher test participation will provide the district with more useful data, which will be used for various reasons. The results provide BVSD with an apples-to-apples comparison with other school districts in Colorado, allowing 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 the achievement and opportunity gap. Finally, the data is used to create rankings, which can impact the reputation of the district and its schools.

Learn more at

The 2018 CMAS Results
This week each BVSD principal will send families information about the CMAS results at their schools.

It is important to note: BVSD’s Executive Director of Student Assessment & Program Evaluation Jonathan Dings is encouraging 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 data is much more complete than in recent years, so that Spring 2018 can be thought of as a new baseline for understanding BVSD achievement overall and for groups.

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 greater year-to-year growth at the elementary and high school levels than their counterparts state wide. Students at the middle level have a somewhat lower median growth percentile than the state, overall and generally by group.  

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 and high school levels.   

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 generally similar to performance in these groups at the state level. Growth for these groups in BVSD generally exceeds growth by students in these groups at the elementary and high school levels.  In addition, emerging bilingual students made ACCESS growth that exceeds the state, a median growth percentile of 56.

Scores will be used to support individual student learning
Individual student score reports on CMAS will be distributed to parents via Infinite Campus Parent Portal in mid-August, and will be available as paper copies after the beginning of school.  PSAT and SAT results are communicated by the test publisher directly to students.

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

“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,” explained Dings. “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.


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