clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Friday Churn: Science, Shakespeare

What’s churning:

Results released Thursday show Colorado eighth-graders second only to their counterparts in North Dakota on a national science exam.

A sampling of Colorado students participating last year in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as NAEP or the nation’s report card, improved their showing in science over 2009 results as well as outperforming the national average.

The average nationwide science score was 152; Colorado students scored 161, up from 156 on the 2009 assessment.

Other highlights of Thursday’s release:

  • Colorado outperformed 36 states and was not significantly different than 14 states
  • 42 percent of Colorado eighth-graders performed at or above proficient, compared to 31 percent nationally
  • 75 percent of Colorado eighth-graders performed at or above basic, compared to 64 percent nationally

Last year marked the first time that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and schools administered by the Department of Defense took part in the science exam, our partners at Education Week pointed out in this story.

The national exams test a sampling of students in each jurisdiction; states are neither rewarded nor sanctioned based on the results. In Colorado, 1,900 students and 102 schools participated.

If the results were relatively good news for Colorado, they didn’t impress some observers. The average eighth-grade score rose two points, from 150 in 2009 to 152 in 2011.

“I’m disappointed,” Gerry Wheeler, the interim executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, in Arlington, Va., told Ed Week in an interview. “Two points is certainly nothing to cheer about. If these kids can’t do better in science, our nation is in trouble.”

Visit the NAEP website to see the science results and read about Colorado-specific data on this state Department of Education webpage.

Those kids in funny costumes in Denver today are celebrating the annual Shakespeare festival, the largest and oldest student celebration of the Bard in the nation and perhaps the world, according to Denver Public Schools.

U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette will kick off the festivities at 10 a.m. at Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe, before leading a parade to the Denver Center for Performing Arts complex. There, students will perform sonnets and scenes from Shakespeare’s works on 12 indoor and outdoor stages.

The event concludes at 3:30 p.m. DPS officials expect a crowd of 10,000 including 5,000 student participants. See the schedule of performances and more info.

Michael Martin, chancellor of Louisiana State University, has been named the finalist for chancellor of the Colorado State University System.

Martin previously was president of New Mexico State University and a vice president at the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota. His academic background is in economics and agriculture. If selected by the board of governors, Martin would succeed Joe Blake, who has retired.

The chancellor is based in Denver and is primarily responsible for overall system direction, legislative strategy and outreach.

The CSU system includes the Fort Collins and Pueblo campuses and CSU-Global Campus, an online institution. The state agricultural extension service, forest service and the state’s only veterinary training program also are part of CSU. More information in this news release.

What’s on tap:


CU-Boulder commencement ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. at Folsom Stadium; gates open at 7 a.m. and guests are asked to be in their seats by 8:15 a.m. The speaker is businessman Timothy Wolf. More details, parking info.

Becca Bracy Knight, executive director of The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, is the speaker for the final Hot Lunch of the season. It begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Monaco, 1717 Champa St. More info.


Metropolitan State College of Denver will award more than 1,800 bachelor’s and 60 master’s degrees during a 9 a.m. ceremony at the Auraria Athletic Fields. President Steve Jordan is the speaker. It will be Metro’s last graduation as a “college” – it officially becomes a university on July 1.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.