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Willow Creek Students Perform Strongly

November 1, 2014

Last spring Willow Creek fourth- and fifth-grade students took the new state tests for Social Studies and Science, respectively. The assessments measured student mastery of Colorado's updated science and social studies standards, which were adopted in 2009 and required to be fully implemented by the 2013–2014 school year.

Not only were the standards and assessments new; the test format itself was new. These were the first statewide assessments given online, and most of Willow Creek's students reported that they preferred testing on our new Chromebooks to bubbling in answers on the old paper tests. Overall,​ the testing process went very smoothly for us.

The statewide results, announced last week, use a new categorization method to report students' mastery of the subject matter tested. These categories are Limited Command, Moderate Command, Strong Command, and Distinguished Command. Across the state 17% of fourth-grade students exhibited Strong/Distinguished Command in Social Studies and 34% of fifth graders exhibited Strong/Distinguished Command in Science.

As the Denver Post reported in the story "Colorado Students Score Poorly on New Social Studies, Science Tests," state officials were not surprised by the low scores. "These new expectations and these scores are not an indication our students know less than they used to know," said Joyce Zurkowski, executive director of assessment for the Colorado Department of Education. "It is instead a reflection of the increased expectations of our students." (​)

So how did Willow Creek stack up? For our fourth graders taking the Social Studies test, 49% scored Strong/Distinguished (6th in the district) while 83% of our fifth graders scored Strong/Distinguished in Science (2nd in the district). Way to go!

Fourth Grade Social Studies​​​​​​​

Percent of students in each category





Strong & Distinguished
Willow Creek​5​46​34​15​49


Fifth Grade Science

Percent of students in each category




​Strong & Distinguished
​Willow Creek​0​17​52​30​83

*Results in the Strong & Distinguished Combined column may appear to add incorrectly because of rounding.

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