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Education

Delaware student test scores remain largely unchanged

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First State students overall failed to make gains on math and English proficiency this year.

Public school students in third through eighth grade take the Smarter Balanced Assessments between March and the end of May each year.

Statewide, about 54 percent of those students rated proficient in English, the same as last year. The percentage of students proficient in Math fell 1 percent from 45 percent in 2017 to 44 this year.

Theresa Bennett with the Office of Assessment said they’ll look at why some students did better or worse this year.

“The state proficiency data is good for us to look at trends over time, but the real scores at the school and district level," she said. "That’s where we can really tell where the movement’s happening or not happening.”

This year’s scores show Laurel School District making the greatest strides in English and Seaford making the most gains in math.

Bennett said they’ll also talk with districts about which strategies are working and which aren’t.

“Finding out where we’ve seen some gains and finding out what’s changed or what’s been maintained, what’s happening," she said. "And maybe looking in those areas as well that aren’t seeing the growth and seeing if we can share best practices.”

Scores are up statewide from 2015, the first year students started taking the Smarter Balanced tests. Only 39 percent of students were proficient in Math in 2015 and 52 percent were proficient in English.

Meanwhile proficiency scores for high school students taking the SAT fell this year. The biggest drop was on the essay portion, going from 53 percent in 2017 to 40 percent this year. About 50 percent of students were proficient in evidence-based reading and writing, a three precentage-point decrease from 2017 and 28 percent were proficient in math, a 1 percentage-point drop.

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