Researched by a Colorado parent

“There is no federal law prohibiting a parent from opting their child out of CSAP testing.” –Jo O’Brien, Colorado Dept. of Education

Every student in grades 3-10 is “expected” to take the CSAP according to the CDE, however every student is not “required” to take the CSAP. In other words, it is at the parents’ discretion as to whether or not their child takes this exam. Even so,

“Teachers in most districts are being advised to stress the importance of the CSAPs to both the children and their parents.” –The Coalition for Better Education

“It is ONE source of information on your child’s achievement and by no means should be considered the only input.” --Jo O’Brien, Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Colorado Department of Education

  • There is no law requiring participation in the CSAP.

“Parental refusal is only an explanation of why the student did not test.” –Glen Sirakavit, CSAP Senior Consultant, Colorado Department of Education

  • There is no penalty for students who do not take the CSAP due to parental refusal.

“Students who do not test, including those who do so due to parental refusal, are counted as non-participants when determining participation rates for state and federal accountability purposes.” –Jo O’Brien, Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Colorado Department of Education

  • Not all administrators and teachers find the CSAP to be useful or the only important assessment tool. “I find it less useful for shaping instructional practice.” –Scott Murphy, Superintendent for Littleton Public School District
  • A school does NOT receive more state funding if it performs well on the CSAP.
  • If your child does not take the CSAP due to parental refusal, he/she does not have to stay home from school on testing days.
  • There is no penalty for parental refusal; the student is considered a “non-participant” and simply does not receive a score.

“For calculating performance, non-participant data are not counted as zeroes – they are excluded from the calculation… So the calculations are performed on the basis solely of students that took the test and had valid scores on it.” –Jo O’Brien, Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Colorado Department of Education

“School academic performance ratings (SAR) will no longer be assigned for Colorado schools. The Education Accountability Act of 2009 (SB 09-163) repealed previous SAR law. Negative weights for Unsatisfactory and No Score percentages are not in effect anymore.” –Angela Engel, Family Leadership Training Institute Facilitator, Policy Advisor, past Denver school teacher and administrator

  • CSAP scores and parental refusals have NO IMPACT on student grades.
  • CSAP scores and parental refusals are NEVER INCLUDED on college transcripts.
  • Testing takes between 9 and 12 hours for children as young as 8 years old.
  • Students have been given [bribes like] free merchandise, candy, and restaurant fare in exchange for completed test booklets. This is considered an unethical and unprofessional educational practice by some educators and parents.
  • It has been reported that some students experience anxiety so extreme while taking the CSAP they have vomited on their exams or have had anxiety attacks.
  • The CSAP has been estimated to cost the state upwards of $50 million each year in student preparation, administration and scoring.
  • Only 3-4 of Colorado’s 13 state standards are covered on the CSAP. Subject areas like American history, geography, and government are left out of the assessment.
  • Science is not tested in each grade level being assessed.
  • The more free/reduced lunches a school provides, the poorer it will perform overall on the CSAP.

How well a school performs on the CSAP has more to do with the school’s socioeconomic status (wealth) than with the school’s instructional practices.

“I’ve been studying school characteristics and CSAP scores for five years. It is pretty clear that CSAP is a reflection of socio-economic status. Schools that score higher on the CSAP are higher income (lower free-reduced lunch eligible) and [have] a higher percent of white students; and lower performing schools have a higher poor population and [are] primarily minority.” –Dr. David Aske, Economics Professor, University of Northern Colorado

  • The CSAP consistently returns results that show white children outperforming minority children. This is called a “racial bias.”
  • The CSAP consistently returns results that show boys outperforming girls. This is called a “gender bias.”
  • A ‘good test’ should correct for bias or be discarded.

“Whatever one’s position on educational testing, the elimination of bias is a minimal requirement of its just use. Questions of test bias are closely related to questions of test validity.” –Ken Howe, University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Relying solely on scores from one test to determine success or progress in broad areas such as reading or math is likely to lead to incorrect inferences and then to actions that are ineffective or even harmful.” –Fair Test, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

  • “Although Colorado uses CSAP data to make critical decisions and judgments, the CSAP has never been independently audited or evaluated for validity or reliability.” –Children’s Action Agenda Outline, p. 22

“Colorado’s ethnicity achievement gap is large and persistent. Our white students have consistently scored higher than our minority students each year the CSAP has been given.” –Colorado Children’s Campaign

“No school’s base funding will change as a result of poor CSAP performance. In fact, schools with ‘low’ or ‘unsatisfactory’ ratings will receive MORE funding in order to help them improve.” –The Fund for Colorado’s Future

“School districts receive funding based on pupil enrollment as defined by statute (22-54-103, C.R.S.)… The only relationship CSAP has to the funding formula is a count of English Language Learners.” –Vody Hermann, Director of Public School Finance, Colorado Dept. of Education

“The big lie is that colleges and universities care about CSAP scores. They don’t. UNC and AIMS do not give a whit about CSAP scores. Nor does University of Colorado at Boulder. No one does. This is just something that school administration has made up to instill fear. This is shameful educational malpractice.” –Don Perl, President of the Coalition for Better Education

“The only recourse left to parents is their right to determine what is best for their own children. This high-stakes testing regime will have to be challenged from the grassroots up…Parents everywhere in Colorado should exercise their right to opt their children out of CSAP until the heavy hand of the state and federal government in testing is gone.” –Dave Chandler, Co-Chair of the Colorado Green Party

Here’s what teachers are saying:

·”My school is in its second year of academic/accreditation watch. Last year, the fourth- and fifth-grade students lost morning recess. Social studies, geography, history, and government have been relegated to the occasional minute, if available. Art has been totally cut out, as have many field trips.” –Susan Banning, Third Grade Teacher, Center Colorado

“Our district, like many other districts, is gradually eating away at all of the classes that are not tested on the CSAP. Social studies — the original purpose of the public education system was to have an informed electorate — are being reduced or eliminated… Arts and other electives are being eroded. We will be creating a generation of students who cannot think critically and who have little or no cultural awareness. This must end.”–William Dasher, High School Teacher, Cherry Creek School District

“We house severe-needs special ed students, and all 21 of those youngsters receive a grade of zero on the Colorado state tests, known as CSAP. Most of those youngsters do not even have verbal skills, never mind the ability to read and pass the test.

We also house the Newcomers Program, special classes for youngsters who are coming into American schools for the first time. They spend about one year in that special program, and they make enormous progress in their English language abilities; however, they do not have enough skill to read the test during that first year so they, too, all get zero. As you can see, there is no way that my school will ever get off academic watch with at least 60 youngsters being graded as zero every year.

The frustration of the students, staff, and administration is becoming overwhelming, and we all have a sense of failure. True education in our school is being beaten down and destroyed by this legislation.” — Virginia Villafranca, Middle School Teacher, St. Vrain Valley

“Teachers are required to teach in a way that does not allow for their professional expertise or judgment to be applied to the work they do with their students. ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act ) has placed such an emphasis on student proficiency based on performance on one state assessment that little else appears to matter, neither providing students with a well rounded, creative, and engaging learning experience, nor encouraging teachers to be passionate, creative, engaging practitioners of their profession.” –Brenna Isaacs, Elementary School Teacher, Aurora Public Schools


4 Responses to Facts about CSAP

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Jones, BuildBetterSchools. BuildBetterSchools said: Facts about CSAP: Researched by a Colorado parent “There is no federal law prohibiting a pare… #education #reform [...]

  2. [...] Colorado Department of Education spends approximately $50 million a year on standardized tests, yet scores remain stagnant and achievement gaps persist. Further, independent groups have not validated efficacy. Additionally, a recent news article [...]

  3. Sarah says:

    One of the things you say in your article is that TCAP results are not included on transcripts. However, when my transcript arrived the other day, it had TCAP scores printed under th box for ACT and SAT scores. Any suggestions?

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