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Coming up next spring is the fourth annual Colorado Student Assessment Program commonly referred to as CSAP exams which test students on standards-based criteria in math science reading and writing Highly publicized and widely debated the CSAP has not exactly been taking the back seat to other educational issues In fact it is has been and still remains the educational issue in the state dividing teachers administrators state legislators and even the governor as to what function the CSAP should serve in public schools It started as rallying cry from Gov Bill Owenshis answer to the critics who said not enough was being done to adequately reform education within the state For the past ten years the country has been undergoing a radical change in education reform Standards have been implemented in every public school system to make sure students are learning and performing at the levels expected of them and their respective grade levels Owens saw this as not being enough so he implemented the CSAP along with its penalties for under-performing schools and rewards for high-achieving ones To explain these penalties and rewards the assessment system must be touched on first Based on a students overall test score heshe is graded as one of the following Advanced Proficient Partially Proficient or Unsatisfactory Based on these student scores a schools grade is then calculated using a different ranking system Excellent High Average Low or Unsatisfactory If a school receives an unsatisfactory rating for three years it will be converted to a charter school and taken over by the state just one of the CSAPs wrinkles These are the nuts and bolts of the CSAP but it gets much more complicated than that When different schools demographics are accounted for or when the amount of non English-speaking students are counted in a school in a school it can be better realized that this may not be the answer to our educational reform questions In
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