Good news on annual testing for Coronado High as state moves from PARCC to SATFeb. 15, 2018
Results from the state's annual standardized tests in 2016 thrust Coronado High School into a form of academic probation, and it wasn't because its students had suddenly gotten dumber.
The full explanation is complicated, but essentially the school's ranking suffered because so many families chose not to have their ninth-graders take the test, according to
Called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), it was criticized for not matching up with the state's academic standards.
Parents, as well as Smith and other school staff, called for a switch to the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test), which they said was a logical lead-up to the PSAT already taken annually by sophomores and the SAT by juniors.
“It is important for parents and students to know that these tests [PSATs and SATs] are an approved, recognized assessment tool for high school classroom instruction and an admission tool for scholarship consideration purposes when applying to colleges and universities,” Smith writes in his column in the February 2018 Coronado High newsletter.
Smith's column also reports good news about what's coming up for state testing this spring. His opening sentence is: “No PARCC exams!”
He then explains, “Our parents and community have spoken, and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) was listening. The switch to SAT came on the heels of a thorough revision of the testing system after numerous families around the state lawfully opted out of the PARCC exams.”
The state's SAT transition actually started in 2016, which was the first year that high school sophomores started taking the PSAT.
Then in 2017, the state started “requiring all juniors to take the SAT to prove their readiness for life after high school, whether that is the workforce, the military or higher education,” Smith's column reports. And starting this spring, “freshmen will take the PSAT 9, which is a precursor and excellent tool to ready them for the PSAT 10 and ultimately, the PSAT and SAT tests.”
However, in 2017, ninth-graders statewide still had to take the PARCC tests. To avoid another boycott, Smith said he went out and “met with every kid” in Coronado's ninth-grade class, asking them to endure it this time for the good of the school. “I think it helped our participation rate,” he said in an interview with the Pioneer last fall. “The CDE said we really achieved. Before that, because of 2016, we had to submit an improvement plan to the state. Now we're getting a thumbs-up.”
The principal has other reasons to be pleased with last year's testing. His juniors' average SAT score was 1044, which was “the highest score in Colorado Springs School District 11,” he reports in his column. “The overall average score for the state was 1015 and nationally was 1020. A round of applause for our juniors and also our teachers who provided the classroom instruction to achieve this success.”
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