What is CSAP?
CSAP, Colorado Student Assessment Program, are tests required by Colorado law to measure how well students have mastered the Colorado Model Content Standards. These standards describe what students should know and be able to do at specific grade levels. Students take CSAP tests in reading, writing, math and science, depending on the grade level. The tests include multiple-choice and open-ended questions.
How is CSAP different from other tests?
CSAP doesn’t compare students. It measures how well each student is mastering content standards. Imagine students are running a race. CSAP doesn’t tell us which student is in front, who is in the middle and who is in last place. Instead, CSAP shows how far each student has moved toward the finish line. Students’ test results are reported according to four performance levels – advanced, proficient, partially proficient or unsatisfactory.
How are CSAP results used?
CSAP has several purposes:
- To tell students, parents and teachers how students are doing in mastering content standards.
- To give teachers feedback about where changes might need to be made in curriculum and instruction.
- To provide accountability to the community.
Are teachers “teaching to the test?”
CSAP is a continuation of what teachers do all year in teaching standards. Therefore, in reality, teachers are preparing students for CSAP all year because they are teaching to the standards every day in the classroom. An analogy: Wouldn’t you want the medical school professors to “teach to the test” if they were teaching the skills that your doctor needs to treat you?
How can I help my child do well on CSAP?
How you help your child with learning all year is most important. Prepare daily for a successful learning experience by having your child arrive at school on time and appropriately dressed; and providing good nutrition and rest so your child has the mental energy and stamina needed for critical thinking.
You can help your child succeed in school by:
- Encouraging good study habits and ensuring that your child completes homework and assignments.
- Asking your child about how he/she is doing in school.
- Communicating with the teacher.
- Encouraging your child to take pride in his/her work and celebrating success.
- Making sure your child gets a good night’s rest on school nights, and especially before tests, such as the CSAP.
- Setting learning goals with your child.
You can help your child do well on tests by:
- Making attendance at school a priority. Be sure you don’t schedule any appointments for your child on testing days.
- Treating the CSAP day like any other important school day. If your child usually eats a big breakfast, do the same on test day. If a smaller breakfast works better, then stay with that routine.
- Encouraging your child to do a good job and boosting confidence about what your child has learned.
- Telling your child what to expect from the test and how the results will be used.
- Easing any fears or anxiety about tests by reinforcing good test-taking skills, such as carefully reading directions; skipping questions if you don’t know the answer; and pacing yourself.
How do I motivate my child to do well on the CSAP?
Some children may believe that the CSAP “doesn’t count” because the results aren’t received until the next school year. You can help show your child the importance of CSAP by sharing these ideas:
- CSAP provides an opportunity to take pride in what you’ve learned and to show how much you’ve progressed toward mastering content standards.
- Next year’s teacher(s) will look at your CSAP results and use them to help determine where to begin your instruction.
- CSAP helps teachers know if they are teaching the right information in the right way, so students can reach high standards.
To learn more, please visit the Colorado Department of Education-CSAP web site at