CMAS scores hold promise—but gaps remain

Written by: Stephanie Perez-Carrillo
Date Posted: August 30, 2019

More Colorado students are meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations in English Language Arts, but trends in mathematics are less clear, according to 2019 CMAS assessment results released earlier this month. The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are Colorado’s standards-based assessments designed to measure student performance in math, English Language Arts (ELA), social studies and science. Last week, the Colorado Department of Education released statewide 2019 CMAS results, along with district- and school-level data.

Overall, the percentage of Colorado students meeting or exceeding expectations in CMAS English Language Arts improved from 2018, at every grade level except grade 7. The increases ranged from 0.8 percentage points in sixth grade to 3.1 percentage points in eighth grade. When we compare to  2015 scores, the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts has increased across all grades. In math, trends varied by grade, and most grades saw just over a third of students meeting or exceeding expectations.

Achievement Gaps

The results released last week also show that Colorado must do a better job of removing educational barriers for students of color, students in low-income families and students with disabilities. Our state continues to see wide achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity, family income and disability status.

In many grades, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students meeting expectations in ELA exceeded 25 percentage points, and gaps in math were similarly large. Colorado has shown little progress toward closing the achievement gap since 2015.

In English Language Arts, the achievement gaps between students in low-income families and their peers exceeded 30 percentage points in many grades, and gaps based on disability status were even wider. You can find more information about this year’s results by clicking here.

Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

About Stephanie Perez-Carrillo

Stephanie works as a Policy Analyst for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, she worked as a Public Policy Fellow at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado – where she found her love and passion for policy work. Before diving into the policy world, Stephanie served as a Teach for America Corps Member in South Carolina, teaching high school and middle school math. Early on while obtaining her degree in Marketing from Florida International University, she worked in health care as a Patient Advocate and Unit Secretary. When she is not working, you can typically find her at a coffee shop, hanging out with friends, or engaging in some type of outdoor activity.