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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

CDA School District Spring Assessment Results Dismal

New Remedial Math Courses ‘Participation Trophy Classes'


  • Math assessment results are worse than ELA, but not by much. Silver lining is the results are better than the overall state average.

  • There is a new remedial math curriculum to give struggling incoming freshman a stepping stone to get from 8th grade math to the “traditional” math classes. Problem is that Morrisroe believes they are lowering standards to help students pass and these new courses feel like “participation trophy” courses.

  • ACTION: Give public comment on proposed policy changes and new courses here.


The CDA School Board was presented the latest assessment data at their meeting on Tuesday and the results were less than stellar. Troubling data points include:

  • A decline in elementary reading proficiency between a student’s kindergarten or 1st grade year in 2021 results vs. their results 2 years later (for example, 12% of 2021 1st graders were well below proficiency whereas in 2023 14% of 3rd graders are well below proficiency).

  • In 2015 only 38% of 6th graders taking ISAT Math were proficient. In 2023 only 39% of 6th graders were proficient. In 7th grade, 2015 students were 50% proficient while those taking the test today have a 39% proficiency.

  • English Language Arts ISAT is showing a 62% proficiency for 6th and 7th graders.

  • ISAT Science has dropped between 2015 and today.

In each of the categories the district is still above the state average, which is even more dismal than the district.

Reasons for the less-than-stellar results include:

  • The state has changed the test…again. First it was a long-form (1–1.5 hr) test, then a short-form (45 min–1 hr) test, back to a long-form test. Schools have control about breaks in the middle of the test but the district give fatigue as a reason for dropping results.

  • The state has changed test data….again.

  • The state has changed testing time from 10th grade to 11th grade. Some of those tests were taken twice, once in 10th grade and again by the same student in 11th grade. The state takes the better scores of those two tests.

  • Science tests changed in 2022 to more of a “smarter balance test” where students have to actually figure out scientific answers instead of a [more generic] multi-choice.

One note: the assessment team has asked to move away from Fastbridge assessments and towards STAR assessments as that will help identify specific students that need additional intervention strategies instead of having all the students have to take the screening as they do with Fastbridge. Plus moving to STAR will save the district thousands of dollars per year. For more STAR information, read a simple FAQ put together by another school district here.

Below are the assessment result slides that can be compared; see the entire slide deck for testing definitions Fall to Spring growth (or decline) comparisons.

Tier 1: At/near grade level, Tier 2: Approaching/below grade level, Tier 3: Well below grade level

Piggybacking on the dismal assessment results, Curriculum Director Katie Graupman wants approval to move forward with three new remedial high school math classes, Math Concepts 1,2, and 3, to help struggling students with basic math before entering the “traditional” high school math classes. These new classes would “meet Idaho [Common] Core Standards for Math.”

Reminder of how the CDA District’s students performed on the math assessments this Spring.

Tier 1: At/near grade level, Tier 2: Approaching/below grade level, Tier 3: Well below grade level

Side note: remember the days when the high school math classes were Algebra, Geometry, then Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, etc.? That is no longer the case. In 2017 the district changed to a more integrated math which are now called Integrated Math 1, Integrated Math 2, etc, and although they *may* not line up exactly like the original Algebra/Geometry classes, they “meet Idaho [Common] Core Standards for Math.” To read more about the integrated math pathway read FAQs here.

Casey Morrisroe has asked for a side-by-side comparison of the integrated math classes vs. the new Math Concepts classes to see how they line up. Morrisroe is concerned that these new Concepts classes are a “lessening of standards for kids who are struggling a little bit to get them through math.”

Trent Derrick explains what has been happening and why these classes are needed.

Graupman sums up these courses as, “a step in getting more closely aligned to what’s actually being taught in Integrated Math 1 and 2.”

Venture High School has remedial math programs for their students and Allie Anderton wonders if we can’t use those programs/strategies instead of these new courses. Superintendent Hocker said these new courses are here to give “hope” to the students who are not passing traditional math classes.

Final comments by Morrisroe include his annoyance that these course proposal forms were due December 23, 2022 and the board is just now receiving them for approval – and there are already students signed up to take these courses! Morrisroe again says that these new remedial math courses are lessening of standards for students and feel like a participation trophy. He is going to wait to see a side-by-side comparison before making any decisions on approval.

Ultimately, the board moved to open these three math courses, along with 2 other courses, to public comments before approving. The courses are not yet available for comment on the website but once they’re uploaded they will be available here for 30 days. Please check back to the website in the next few days, take a look at the courses and give feedback.

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