CSAP vs ITBS – Colorado public schools use the CSAP test for their students. We are often asked to compare our student test scores with area public schools. First, one must understand the following important information:

  • CSAP stands for Colorado Student Assessment Program
  • ITBS stands for Iowa Tests of Basic Skill
  • They are different kinds of tests.
  • They don’t test the same thing.
  • They cannot be compared side-by-side.
  • They do both measure student achievement


Student Achievement Scores

  • 92% of 3rd graders in the Archdiocese of Denver score Average or Above Average on the ITBS Math test.
  • 46% of 3rd graders in DPS score Proficient or Advanced on the CSAP Math Test.
  • 50% of 3rd graders in Weld County score Proficient or Advanced on the CSAP Math Test.


Some notes on reading these scores:

Grade Equivalent (GE)

The grade equivalent is a number that describes a student’s location on an achievement continuum. The continuum is a number line that describes the lowest level of knowledge or skill on one end (lowest numbers) and the highest level of development on the other end (highest numbers). The GE is a decimal number that describes performance in terms of grade level and months. For example, if a sixth-grade student obtains a GE of 8.4 on the Vocabulary test, his score is like the one a typical student finishing the fourth month of eighth grade would likely get on the Vocabulary test. The GE of a given raw score on any test indicates the grade level at which the typical student makes this raw score. The digits to the left of the decimal point represent the grade and those to the right represent the month within that grade.

Grade equivalents are particularly suited to estimating a student’s developmental status or year-to-year growth. They are particularly ill-suited to identifying a student’s standing within a group or to diagnosing areas of relative strength and weakness.

To read more about interpreting these test scores, please use the following:

“ITBS: Iowa Test of Basic Skills – Interpreting Test Scores” http://www.education.uiowa.edu/itp/itbs/itbs_interp_score.aspx
Main ITBS Information Page (includes the Description, Purposes and Score Interpretation Information for ITBS): http://www.education.uiowa.edu/itp/itbs/Default.aspx

ITBS Growth Scores

Additionally, at St. James School we seek to ensure that our students are not only displaying strong academic achievement, but that students are also continually growing in their knowledge – at whatever level they work. We are proud that the overall ITBS composite scores for 2011 indicate that the average student in each grade at St. James School has shown at least one year’s worth of growth. The chart below illustrates the amount of growth (in years) each grade of students had on average from February 2010 to February 2011.


2010-2011 Grade
Average Growth
3rd Grade 1.4 yrs growth from 2nd to 3rd grade
4th Grade 1.7 yrs growth from 3rd to 4th grade
5th Grade 1.5 yrs growth from 4th to 5th grade
6th Grade 1.5 yrs growth from 5th to 6th grade
7th Grade 1.2 yrs growth from 6th to 7th grade
8th Grade 3.5 yrs growth from 7th to 8th grade