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New report says Delaware's reported math and reading proficiency rates aren't accurate

Delaware Public Media

The results of Delaware’s education assessments are less accurate than they appear, according to a new report.

A new study from Educational reform organization Achieve compared state reported proficiency rates across the nation to rates reported by the National Assessment for Educational Progress to discover discrepancies or "honesty gaps." The NAEP is the nation’s report card, regarded as the gold standard of student assessment across state lines.

Delaware was among the bottom 12 states for gaps in reported eighth grade math proficiency - with a proficiency rate 35 percent higher than what’s in the nation’s report card. There’s also a 35 percent gap between the state and NAEP fourth grade reading proficiency rates.

Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) points to those numbers as one reason for concern about the push to allow parent to opt-out their kids out of state tests.  Markell says it’s important to focus on the progress of every student.  He also sees the tests as crucial to making sure resources get where they need to go.  And he notes his administration is addressing legitimate concerns about amount of testing being done.

“This is one reason we announced 6 weeks ago or so, what we call our assessment inventory, where we’re putting our districts in a position where they can take a careful look at the assessments they’re giving so we can reduce the number of assessments as appropriate and make sure they are useful to our educators," said Markell.


Markell also added that it’s important to be able to give families an honest assessment of how their kids are doing so they can compete for college and jobs.  


"When we tell a kid they are proficient based on a test that is only given within our borders, then they have to compete with jobs from outside our borders,we’re not being honest with them. A dose of honesty is in order," said Markell.

The study found nationally, more than half of states had proficiency gaps over 30 percent, and noted that too many states say their students are proficient as opposed to well-prepared. The 2015 NAEP report comes out this fall.


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