03-17-08 CSAP Panel

March 17 at 10am & 7pm

Studio Panel Discussion examines Colorado Student Assessment Program
hosted by Ryan Warner

A panel of education authorities evaluates the Colorado Student Assessment Program, considering whether the CSAP is improving education and accomplishing its goals. Host Ryan Warner moderates the broadcast event.

Recorded in Colorado Public Radio's performance studio, the discussion features nine panelists, including Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones, Denver Public School Superintendent Michael Bennet, principals, teachers, lawmakers, parents, and students.

The panel results from a query to KCFR's Public Insight Network, asking Coloradans to share their experiences with education in the state, and their thoughts on how Colorado schools are succeeding – or failing. Respondents indicated great concern with CSAP.

In the course of their discussion with Warner, the panel takes a close look at the push for education reform, the role of CSAP, the issues surrounding standardized testing, and the ultimate impact on the classroom. Kristina Tabor produced the discussion.

Listen to entire program.

Nearly 400 Pomona students celebrate their CSAP improvement. They wear matching shirts the school gave them.
Photo: Kristina Tabor

Arvada's Pomona High School Principal Dan Cohan.
Photo: Kristina Tabor

Program Segments:

Teaching to the test
We often hear the phrase "teaching tothe test." Is it a good thing? Some educators think so. They sayteaching to the test really means teaching to the state's academicstandards - the very things students should know. Meanwhile, other educators find time spent preparing kids for CSAP istime taken away from more valuable lessons. We also ask if preparingstudents for CSAP has to come at the expense of the arts, recess, etc? Listen to this segment.

One size fits all
Critics of CSAP say the test may work for some, but not for others. Ateacher of gifted students says the writing test, for example, forces her kids to be less creative. Others say it makes sense to uniformly test students on the knowledge they'll need in life. Listen to this segment.

CSAP Sample Questions, 2004 Test
These are examples of CSAP questions - and some student answers - in both English and Spanish.

How the test results are used
CSAPis used to measure a school's performance under state and federal law. School Accountability Reports-- a kind of school report card-- relyheavily on CSAP data. In turn, parents rely heavily on these reportsto choose which school their child will attend. But how well do thesedata reflect the learning that goes on at a particular school? We'llalso learn how districts-- including Denver Public Schools-- and theColorado Department of Education are getting more and better data outof CSAP. Listen to this segment.

Fort Lupton High School - School Accountability Report

Future of the test
There'swide agreement that standardized testing is around for good. But willCSAP as we know it be around for long? If not, what should a futuretest look like? The state's contract with test maker CTB/McGraw-Hillexpires in 2011. Several pieces of legislation in the current sessionwould make changes to the test itself and to who takes it & when. Listen to this segment.

Panelist Biographies

Other Colorado Matters pieces on CSAP.


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