Submitted by Donna R. Johnson, Delaware State Board of Education
We believe that all Delaware students deserve an education that prepares them to lead full and productive lives in the 21st century. Their success in a competitive world depends on it. That was one of the reasons why we adopted new standards in English Language Arts and Math in the summer of 2010. In recent years, Delaware has been a national leader in raising the academic standards for our schools and students, but we know that we still have work to do. Using higher standards and rigorous expectations for students, teachers, and leaders helps prepare all Delaware students to achieve a level of college, career, and civic readiness upon graduation. This will not happen in isolation, we must work together to help all students be more prepared for college and careers, so they are ready for the real world.
In the 2014-15 school year Delaware public schools began administering new state tests for English and math subjects in grades 3 to 8 and 11, called Smarter Balanced assessments. The new tests are based upon the very same standards that our students’ classroom lessons are based upon and more closely align with the type of teaching and learning they do each day. When results were released statewide in September it showed that statewide we exceeded the projected proficiency rates from the national field test. This was due in large part to the work of our teachers, leaders, and community partners in implementing CCSS standards, aligning curriculum, and supporting student learning through these shifts – but we are not done yet. As our discussions with local boards, surveys of students and educators in our state, as well as the district reviews of curriculum alignment – this work is still underway and we need to continue to support these efforts.
These results of school performance cannot be viewed in a vacuum – student performance is a result of the total package of inputs and supports in the educational program. Our direction must be to stay the course with the work we are doing and continue to improve upon it further. The data shows we still have quite a bit of work to do to prepare our students for their future success, but it also shows that we have a strong foundation to build upon.
As these new score reports are sent home to parents, utilized to inform instructional decisions in schools, and reviewed by our business leaders and community members we wanted to help by sharing available resources for explanation, further information, and suggestions of where to find additional assistance. We have provided this page with several resources, including informational videos, downloadable overview documents, and websites that are customized to assist with learning specific academic skills. Our hope is that you can use these resources to learn more information about the new tests and the standards they are based upon.
Check out the VIDEO below which will walk you through and explain the Smarter Balanced Test Score Reports
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.