More First State students college, career ready, according to state test results
Delaware is continuing to make progress in its push to increase math and English proficiency in the state’s K-12 students, but that's without some setbacks.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment results released Thursday show Delaware making steady gains with math scores.
45 percent of the state’s students tested proficient in math this year, which is up one percentage point from last year and four points from 2015 -the first year of the assessment.
“Thousands more kids are demonstrating proficiency in mathematics this year. We had over 1,300 more students who are demonstrating that they’re proficient. And that’s significant, said Michael Watson, Chief Academic Officer for Delaware’s Department of Education.
He compiled the test results and presented them to the State Board of Education Thursday night.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment tests students in grades 3 through 8. Grades 5 and 6 saw the biggest gains in math proficiency since 2015.
Fifth grade proficiency went from 38 percent to 44 percent in two years and sixth grade proficiency went from 34 percent to 41 percent.
“What I’m most excited about is that in math in grades 5 and 6 we saw real increases in the number of students proficient in those grades. So that’s encouraging,” Watson said.
But third graders saw their proficiency static over the past two years at 53 percent. That grade actually lost ground it made in 2016 when proficiency increased to 55 percent.
And while Delaware continues to show improvement in reading and writing proficiency, it’s not as pronounced as it is in math.
54 percent of students tested proficient in the English Language Assessment.
That’s a one percentage point decrease from last year (55 percent). But more students took the test this year, so it actually represents an increase of 285 students scoring proficient.
On the flip side, that's also an increase of 198 students who aren't proficient.
Gov. John Carney (D) says there are "bright spots" in the data and "many schools have made notable gains," but concedes schools in Wilmington continue to lag behind.
"The difficult truth remains that too many of our students in the City of Wilmington - our largest city and the economic and cultural engine of our state - are being left behind. That is something that we cannot allow to continue," said Carney in a statement. "We must do more to help our most disadvantaged students - those affected by poverty, stress, and trauma. As I have already made clear, I will continue to engage with stakeholders across Wilmington and statewide, and I intend to take real action to address this issue."?
Wilmington schools identified as "Priority Schools" under former Gov. Jack Markell's administration, Bancroft, Warner, Highlands and Stubbs Elementary Schools and Bayard Middle School, have showed modest gains and losses over the past few years, but all remain below 30 percent proficiency in both English and math - with some in single digits proficiency.
One area that's a clear success for the state is participation in the assessment.
"This is the first year every school has met the 95 percent participation benchmark," Watson said.
Statewide participation in both math and ELA were 99 percent for 2017.
The state uses SAT results to measure proficiency in grades 9-12.
53 percent of students who took the test were proficient in English, which is unchanged from last year. But with almost 1,000 more students taking the test that represents an increase of 516 proficient students and 377 not proficient students.
29 percent were proficient in math, which is a drop of two percentage points from last year.
Overall, 52 more students scored proficient in math.
But 834 more students were not proficient.