Denver – For the ninth consecutive year, students in the Denver Public Schools outpaced their peers across Colorado in year-to-year academic growth in both literacy and math on the statewide exams for third- through eighth-graders. On the 2019 Colorado Measure of Academic Success, DPS students have a combined growth score of 55 in literacy and 53 in math. A growth score of 50 is set as the average score for students across the state, and this marks the ninth straight year (which includes the transition from the former CSAP assessment to CMAS) that DPS students have posted growth scores above 50 in both literacy and math.
“It’s a real testament to the hard work of our students and educators that we continue to see strong growth scores that outpace the rest of the state, year after year, across our schools,” DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova said at a press conference held today at Dora Moore School, a PreK-8 school in central Denver that is one of the city’s top-growth schools this year. Dora Moore’s students posted an overall growth score of 69 in literacy and 65 in math. And this is the fourth straight year that the school has posted growth scores above the state average in both literacy and math.
“We still have a lot of work ahead to drive bigger gains in proficiency and in closing our achievement gaps,” Cordova added, “and we need to learn from schools like Dora Moore and the others across DPS we’re recognizing here today for the outstanding work they’re doing. These are schools where targeted, focused strategies around instructional excellence and equity are driving significant progress. Our work ahead is to bring that to scale, to collaborate across all of our schools to make broader and deeper gains that lift up the students who need extra support.”
On academic-proficiency CMAS scores, DPS students posted slight gains in the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in literacy, math, and social studies: Literacy increased from 41% to 42%; math from 32% to 33%; and social studies from 13% to 16%. There was a small decrease (24% to 23%) in the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in science.
In the high school results on the 2019 state tests, the percentage of DPS students who met or exceeded state benchmarks remained essentially flat. In literacy, the met/exceeded percentage went from 52.9% to 53.2%. And in math, it remained at 37.5%.
For DPS English-Learners, more than half (57%) are on-track to acquiring English proficiency, an increase of 1 percentage point over last year. And in looking at the academic-growth of English-Learners in Denver, students continued to exceed the district’s growth benchmark on the Colorado Spanish Language Arts test. DPS sets an expectation that 60% of our English-Learners will meet the growth expectation that we’ve determined will put them on track for English proficiency. In 2019, 62% of these students met or exceeded that growth exception, up from 61% last year.
The district’s achievement gaps continue to persist, across racial groups, for students with disabilities, and for students from low-income households, as the district sharpens and intensifies its focus on instructional excellence and equity in order to wipe out these gaps and lift the classroom performance of all students.
“We are working toward making equity our core identity,” Cordova added. “And we look at a range of areas to see where we need to focus that work. Classroom performance and how our students measure up against their peers are certainly important, as are the whole-child supports we provide to students outside the classroom to remove any barriers that stand in the way to their success. We have tremendous work going on in our schools, and I’m looking forward to working in collaboration with our educators and the community to make sure DPS is designed to lift up every student to academic success and a great future.”