Should We Have CMAS This Year?

Should+We+Have+CMAS+This+Year%3F

Asher Robertson, Dedicated Writer

I bet this year you have been thinking about CMAS testing.

I wonder what your opinion is on whether or not we should have CMAS testing this year?

Let me show you reasoning behind CMAS testing, and some thoughts from two Westlake teachers.

First, let’s look at the reasoning behind CMAS.

Adams 12 School District states “The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are Colorado’s standards-based assessments designed to measure the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) in the content areas of mathematics, English language arts (ELA), science and social studies.” So CMAS helps tell how you are doing in academically school.

Also, we have the option this year (2021) to do Language Arts CMAS and Math CMAS or just Math CMAS. This just means that we have to do less this year for CMAS(in you chose just Math CMAS).

Interviews

I interviewed Ms. Patterson, 6th and 7th-grade Language Arts teacher and Mrs. Laird, 6th grade math teacher from Westlake. Let’s see what they have to say!

Q: What are the benefits of CMAS?
Ms. Patterson: We can track the data to see if teachers are effective. Families can also look at their individual student data.
Mrs. Laird:  It is the students’ opportunity to see how much they have learned.  It is the big academic “tournament” of the year. The teachers also get to see how they did teaching the standards, which is really beneficial.
Q: What are the drawbacks of CMAS?
Ms. Patterson: There are too many tests, it takes time away from instruction, it can give students and teachers anxiety.  This year I don’t think it should be happening. Our school district wrote a letter to try to prevent it from happening, but that didn’t work.
Mrs. Laird: The number one drawback is that we don’t get the scores till the fall and there are many assessments at each grade.
Q: What suggestions would you have for the state in terms of finding out how kids are doing?
Ms. Patterson: Collect data from data-driven instruction that teachers create, give, and grade– like the Student Learning Objectives that we also do and put into our teacher evaluations.
Mrs. Laird: I think CMAS is a good way to do this.  I would just condense the assessments so there aren’t as many of them.  Maybe we would only do one test a year.  So if you take LA in 7th , then you would take Math in 8th grade OR you only do 1 test for each subject each year.
Q: The goal of testing is to provide information about student learning – how have you used CMAS data in the past?
Ms. Patterson: It has shown us which schools are doing the best and which teachers in those schools are doing the best.
Mrs. Laird: We use it to help us place students in specialized classes.  For example, honors.  I also look at my students’ growth from each year and see how I can improve my instruction.
Q: Overall, has CMAS been helpful to you as a teacher?
Ms. Patterson: Yes, it has shown me that I should keep doing what I am doing with data-driven instruction, and if it is low, it will help me to identify the issue and solve it.
Mrs. Laird: Very much.  I like it much better than MAPS testing because it assesses only the grade level standards.

The Number Of People That opted out of CMAS

Mr. Meyer processed over 650 opt-out forms from Westlake students.
6th grade: approximately 40% of students opted out of the Math CMAS.
7th grade: approximately 48% of students opted out of the LA CMAS.
8th grade: approximately 51% of students opted out of the Math and/or Science CMAS.
So overall…close to half of Westlake opted out of taking the CMAS this school year.