CSAP stands for Colorado Students Appreciate Perspective
posted by: gretchen
There is a fifth season in Colorado.
It is tightly wedged between winter and spring, overlapping both slightly. You won’t find the kids of our state screaming down ski slopes or romping in glorious sunshine with fat and happy robins, though.
Instead, they are curled over desks in silent classrooms. This fifth season features days which are long and marked by the sounds of scratching pencils and deep sighs. A timer runs silently, marking minutes off one-by-one as pages in booklet are turned. Math facts are fished out of brains and short paragraphs are read and hopefully comprehended at levels which will allow schools to steam forward for years to come.
It’s CSAP time.
Any parent who has had kids in the school system longer than 10 minutes knows this is when schools send home helpful hints to help grades 3-12 succeed and shine.
We are told to feed our children a healthy breakfast after a good night’s sleep. They are to be delivered to school on time and brimming with words of loving affirmation. Don’t dress them uncomfortably, don’t schedule doctor appointments or vacations to Disneyland. Don’t pick them up early.
Tell your child you love him or her. He will do great! She will do awesome! And then there is the unspoken and unwritten vibe: Everything is riding on these little ones…
Schools have been shut down over poor CSAP scores.
I approach the tests with resignation and slight irritation. Another thing parents understand is that each individual school is so much more than the results of a two-week span of testing can ever show. I really love my children’s school and believe they are receiving a top-notch education. I also know they aren’t one of the top CSAP schools in the state.
That doesn’t matter to me.
The quality of my children’s education is demonstrated when we sit down around the dinner table and discuss what each child learned that day. Everything from the human heart to Benjamin Franklin’s stove to long division triumph is remembered and recounted.
Too bad CSAP can’t stand for Colorado Schools Assessment Potluck. I can see it now:
Huge tables, covered in floral tablecloths, are set up in a sunny field. Kids are seated around plates of macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and pancakes. Ice cold, foamy mugs of chocolate milk are sipped in between answering questions lobbed by friendly people with small, unobtrusive clipboards.
I bet the discussion would reveal more than any bubble-filled sheet ever could. Nobody would be stressed, except for the person who notices the potato salad is running low.
Yes, schools need to be held accountable. Standardized testing is the easiest, cheapest, most obvious method of demonstrating competency and progress. My hope for Colorado’s schools and students is that everyone does their best. I also hope we remember that when the scores come out and the papers and TV stations opine on what it all means, we can maintain proper perspective.
My kids are more than their test scores, and so are schools.