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Delaware releases Smarter Balanced test scores

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Statewide assessment results released this week provide a new baseline for how Delaware students are performing in English language arts and mathematics. The 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment results are the first ever scores for the test, which is aligned with the Common Core – Delaware’s new, higher, academic standards.

Statewide, more than half of students in third through eighth grades and in grade 11 were “proficient’ or better in English. In math, almost 39 percent were statewide. Delaware students outperformed estimates – based on a 2014 national field test — in both subjects for every grade with the exception of 11th grade math.

More than four million students took the field test that was used to set expectations for how students would perform when Smarter Balanced was first offered last spring. Following that test, educators, school leaders, higher education faculty, parents and others worked together to develop benchmarks for students to reach different achievement levels (one through four), with students scoring 3 or 4 considered “proficient.”

Grade-level results in English language arts/literacy ranged from a high of 55.5 percent scoring proficient or higher in fifth grade to a low of 48.5 percent in sixth grade. In math, the grade-level results ranged from a high of 53.1 percent in third grade to a low of 23.3 percent in grade 11.

“The Smarter Assessment is harder, and different, from any of our past state assessments. It tests more skills than we’ve ever tested before and does so more rigorously,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “We made this change because these are the skills our children will need to succeed in the rest of their careers and we need to provide them with as much help and support as we can while they are still in our care.

“As we all expected, the overall results of this more rigorous assessment show that we still have a lot of work to do to prepare all of our students for college and careers, but we know our schools continue to make progress, and we are pleased that the results are better than anticipated by the national test.” he said.

As a governing state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Delaware partnered with other states to develop the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Final results, which also will include additional analysis looking at scores by student subgroup, will be released on Thursday, September 17, in conjunction with the State Board of Education meeting.

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