Colorado has released the results for our 2017 mandatory state tests.
STEM School Highlands Ranch is the highest scoring DCSD school for SAT, PSAT, and 9th grade science. Additionally, except for one elementary and one middle school in the district, we were the highest scoring in the district for science in grades 5 and 8. At 90.5% proficient and above, it is likely that we are the highest in the district for Algebra II.
Even though about 30% of our students opted out, we still managed to outscore DCSD in every category from grades 3 to 9. (Not counting our middle school grade-level math where most of our students take the Algebra I, II, and Geometry tests instead.)
Our students on IEPs (special education) scored 14 points higher than state average and 12 points higher than DCSD for growth. Congratulations to our hard-working special education providers for closing the achievement gap. Every ethnic group at STEM School Highlands Ranch significantly outscored the state and DCSD as compared to the ethnic group scores in other schools. Our welcoming, inclusive environment paired with high expectations for all students contribute to this achievement.
Elementary outscored every DCSD score although we do not "drill and kill" with endless worksheets that can crush the spirit of inquiry in our young students. Schools that emphasize these basic skills and take this approach tend to score higher, but our students score higher every year they remain with us as the testing shifts to the abstract and application of knowledge. Plus, they retain their love of learning that is so critical for future success.
This is a team effort with strong partnerships between our parents and teachers. Canvas and Google Classroom allow a constant flow of information between parents, teachers and students. Clear communication about learning objectives and progress toward those objectives result in higher achievement.
We do not simply teach to the test; we rely upon our rigorous curriculum and instructional platform that emphasizes critical thinking, creating new knowledge, and teamwork. These 21st century skills are so necessary for success in a global economy.
With our mission of never stop innovating, we recognize that we still have some work to do on our growth scores in some areas. High scoring students are more challenging to see growth, but we are confident that it is possible with thoughtful analytics and precise instruction. This will be one of our goals at STEM School Highlands Ranch this year.
For visuals of test score comparisons, see the table below and charts here.