Each spring we take the CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success). This past spring our students took tests in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. The tests are aligned with the state learning standards and a tool used to determine students’ mastery level of the standards. They are also a predictor of how well students are prepared for the next grade level. It’s important to understand that these scores are a snapshot in time. If your student took CMAS in the spring, by now you should have received a copy of your student’s CMAS scores either at fall conferences or directly by mail. The purpose of this letter is to help decipher the tests and the scores.
Let’s start with the English Language Arts(ELA)/Literacy test which is broken down into two parts: Reading and Writing. A student’s reading score is based on how students read and analyze literary text (fiction, drama, poetry) and informational text (nonfiction, history, science and the arts) and how they use context to determine the meaning of vocabulary within texts. Writing in the other part of the ELA/Literacy test. It consists of an overall score which is a combination of written expression (how well students write based on details they’ve read) and their ability to correctly use elements of language and conventions (grammar structures and their usage and overall clarity of the writing).
The Mathematics test is broken into four components: Major content, additional and supporting content, expressing mathematical reasoning, and modeling and application. Depending on the grade level of your student, each one of these areas measures different standards which can be found under the Performance Level Descriptor section on your student’s performance report.
The simplest way to interpret your student’s performance is to look at the box which reads: Your Student’s Score. The number is an overall score for the test. For comparison, the number scores for school, district and state are also included.
Based on this number score, each student receives a “Performance Level Descriptor” which falls under one of the following categories: Exceeded Expectations, Met Expectations, Approached Expectations, Partially Met Expectations, or Did Not Yet Meet Expectations. The top two categories “exceeded expectations” and “met expectations” indicate that the student is performing at or above grade level. If a score falls under the category “approached expectations,” the student is close to performing at grade level, but needs some additional support to get there. Scores in the “partially met expectations” range indicate students have limited command of the skills required for grade level work. Students whose scores are in the “did not yet meet expectations” are performing substantially below grade level expectations and require significant support to reach grade level. The percentage score indicates how your student scored in comparison to other students in the state. For example, 97th Percentile indicates that your student performed better than 97% of students in the state.
If you would like additional information on CMAS test scores, here are links to an article from Chalkbeat Colorado Here’s what Colorado parents need to know about getting — and deciphering — kids’ CMAS scores and the Colorado Department of Education’s CMAS Interpretive Guide to Assessment Reports.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me.