2018 state assessment results hold steady

Some districts, schools show greater gains

Statewide assessment results released today show gains made in some districts and schools with local administrators crediting a variety of supports for their students’ growth.

District and charter leaders in the schools said they used state-provided resources such as a free digital library of teacher-designed curricular supports as well as interim assessments to better identify student learning gaps and target instructional support. Many also credited strong, systematic professional learning for educators and the use of professional learning communities to give staff time during the school day to discuss student learning and focus instructional supports.

“Our educators and students worked hard to achieve these successes,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “We’re seeing more schools and districts using tools provided by the state to help inform instruction and improve student learning. We will continue supporting our teachers so that we can collectively improve achievement levels across the state.”

Today’s release includes results from the Smarter English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessments given in grades 3 to 8 and the SAT administered in high school. Because the state is transitioning to new science and social studies assessments, students took field tests in those subjects this year. Results for the state’s alternate assessment, administered to those students with significant cognitive disabilities, also were released.

Educators already have received their students’ scores — Smarter results, for example, are available to teachers three weeks after their students complete the test — and were able to use them to plan instruction for the remainder of the school year. Families will receive score reports with their children’s results via U.S. mail beginning next week. Family guides and other resources are available on DelExcels.

For more information on state assessment results, visit the online assessment tables and see the 2018 assessment presentation.

Smarter Assessment (ELA/mathematics)

Overall percentages of students scoring at the proficient level or higher statewide largely held steady from last year with more change visible at the district and school levels.

Statewide, 54 percent of students scored a 3 or higher on the 4-scale Smarter assessment in ELA this year, compared to 54 percent in 2017 and 52 percent in 2015, the first year the assessment was administered. In mathematics, 44 percent of students scored at 3 or higher in 2018, compared to 45 percent last year and 39 percent in 2015. The following chart shows the grade-level results.

Note: While Smarter currently is tested in grades 3-8, in 2015, it included grade 11.

 

The district with the highest performance overall in ELA was Appoquinimink followed by Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney, tied for second. In math, Cape Henlopen led the state followed by Appoquinimink and Indian River, tied for second. Newark Charter and Sussex Academy topped charter schools in the state for ELA and math.

Laurel School District’s gains were the greatest in the state for ELA and second greatest for math this year. ELA went from 32 percent proficient in 2015 to 41 percent in 2017 and 51 percent in 2018, a 10-percentage point increase since last year and a 19-percentage point increase since the assessment was first administered. In math, the percent proficient went from 20 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2017 and 42 percent in 2018.

“First and foremost, we credit our successes to our diligent and dedicated instructors, who worked collaboratively in school data teams analyzing student performance to foster a continuous improvement model throughout our schools,” Laurel Superintendent Shawn Larrimore said, Ed.D. “Paramount to this cycle of continuous improvement was the implementation of several key areas of focus, including a highly-personalized blended (Response to Intervention) model for all students; consistent student exposure to, and deep analysis of, the Smarter Interim Assessments; and the integration of the Smarter Digital Library Playlists into our daily instructional routine.  Additionally, the district has continued to provide individualized content area coaching for all instructional staff through university partnerships and internal instructional coaches to continuously improve planning, instructional delivery, and professional learning communities collaboration.”

In fact, North Laurel Elementary had the greatest gains of any building in the state in ELA last year and was in the Top 10 for math.

In this video, Laurel district and school educators talk about the positive impact state-provided Smarter instructional supports had on their students’ learning.

“Usually after we take the interim assessments, we can find out the areas of need,” fourth grade ELA teacher Jamie Pastusak said. “And then we can go into the digital library and usually through a collaborative group during PLC time or maybe even during our teaching teams, we are able to find lessons that we can pinpoint exactly how to best meet the needs of those students.”

Fourth grade special education teacher Kati Hartstein also praised the resources.

“The level of information that we get from the interim assessments is extremely informative. We know specifically which students are struggling in which areas and then we can go to the digital library and find lessons and resources for that specific topic,” she said.

In math, the district with the strongest gains this year was Seaford, showing districtwide increase of about 5 percentage points, bringing its overall proficiency to 46 percent. Seaford also was second highest in the state in ELA gains, up 4 percentage points since last year (50 to 54 percent).

Seaford’s Douglass Elementary had the strongest math gains of any school in the state: a nearly 14-percentage point increase over last year (47 percent proficient in 2017 compared to 61 percent in 2018).

“We are excited about the continuing progress our students are making,” Seaford Superintendent David Perrington said. “This type of progress is made possible through the efforts of many. The Seaford School District is fortunate to have strong and committed building leadership that believes all students will be successful.  We have teachers and staff that believe they can make a difference and they do so each day with our students. The district has provided an environment where high quality curriculum resources and meaningful professional development is available and implemented with data driven focus. Our schools have become places of learning that provide enriching experiences for every student.”

Many buildings across the state have their own success stories.

Capital School District’s Towne Point Elementary and Fairview Elementary both were in the Top 10 schools with growth for math, making double-digit gains.

Capital Supervisor of Elementary Instruction Pam Herrera said Capital used system-wide professional learning for school-level teams focused on specific strategies and classroom application of the academic standards based on needs identified at the school level.

“As a part of Capital’s feedback cycle, teams for both ELA and math engaged in (professional learning communities) and school-based meetings, grade-level coaching cycles with instructional coaches, opportunities for peer-to-peer classroom visitations (both within the school and across the district to other district schools), and sharing of evidence to ‘showcase’ their work by creating a virtual album that was shared across schools,” Herrera said, adding some elementary schools “focused on small group instruction in math and the coordination of services for small group support and intervention/enrichment support.”

Herrera also credited strategies for increasing rigor and providing more opportunities during math instruction for mathematical thinking and problem solving and bringing student tasks to professional learning communities for helping guide schools to focus on identifying specific student needs related to standards and to plan collaboratively to better meet student needs.

Likewise, in ELA, there was a strategic focus on developing strategies for teaching academic vocabulary to enable students to master crucial concepts and gain a more in-depth understanding of new vocabulary and complex texts, Herrera said, adding that schools focused on the outcomes of understanding text and the indicators of deeper comprehension. The use of craft lessons for writing, particularly mentor sentences, were used to serve as examples to help students identify different elements of writing including structure and style, she said.

In the coming weeks, the state will be taking a closer look at the results to identify strong gains and setbacks in subgroup performance to better understand the changes reflected in the overall scores. The department will look at performance based on socioeconomic status and racial demographics as well as for students with disabilities and those who are identified as English learners.

Full district-, charter- and school-level results are available here.

 

SAT

In SAT, the state’s accountability test for high school, overall state proficiency in the SAT evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) assessment was 50 percent this year – a 3-percentage point decrease. In math, 28 percent of students demonstrated proficiency this year compared to 29 percent in 2017.

It is important to note that today’s score release is distinct from the College Board release in September. In that annual release, the College Board, which administers the SAT, reports on graduating class data. Today’s release by the state reflects the scores of the incoming Class of 2019.

Three charter schools topped the state in ERW and math scores: Charter School of Wilmington, Newark Charter and Sussex Academy. The top-ranking district high schools for both subjects were magnet schools in Red Clay Consolidated School District: Cab Calloway School of the Arts and Conrad Schools of Science.

 

 

Alternate assessment

This year the state launched a new alternate assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities thus no comparative data is provided for prior years.

In ELA, scores ranged from 12 percentage of students scoring at the proficient level in 3rd grade to a high of 42 percent in eighth grade. In math, the scores ranged from a low of 8 percent in seventh grade to a high of 30 percent in fourth grade. Science was assessed in grades 5, 8 and 10 with 12, 23 and 21 percent of students scoring at the proficient level in each grade, respectively.

More about state-provided resources

  • The Smarter Digital Library is a free online resource available to Delaware educators. The library currently houses more than 3,000 instructional resources and professional learning materials aligned to the Delaware academic standards. These resources are created by teachers for teachers and are designed to improve instruction and advance student learning throughout the school year.
  • The Digital Library also offers interim assessments. Interim assessments support teachers by helping them determine where students are in their learning as well as if they need additional instruction or can move onto more challenging work.
  • Khan Academy provides Delaware students with free personalized SAT prep based on their PSAT results. Students can access full-length practice tests, study tips, problem-solving videos and more to support specific learning areas of need. The online platform allows students to receive instant feedback and monitor their progress from both school and home while preparing for the SAT.

 

 


DNREC, DPH are providing the Town of Blades with drinking water after municipal wells are found to have elevated level of perfluorinated compounds

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) began providing bottled water Friday for drinking and cooking to residents of the Town of Blades in Sussex County. This response comes after all three of the town’s drinking water wells returned concentrations of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) above the human health advisory level (70 parts per trillion) following recent sampling by DNREC at the request of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

DNREC worked with EPA in sampling the wells given their proximity to potential sources of PFCs from historical industrial processes in the area. Water from the Blades wells that were sampled is considered safe for use by residents for bathing and laundry. Bottled water was to be delivered Friday morning to the Blades Elementary School and four day care centers in the area, and also was being provided by noon Friday to all Blades residents via delivery at the Blades Fire Hall.

Alternative sources of drinking and cooking water will be provided until a permanent solution is in place. Water will be supplied to the Town of Blades by DNREC and DPH out of an abundance of caution until additional work can determine the extent of PFC contamination in the municipal wells.

Though PFCs are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, DPH is working with DNREC to minimize any potential health impacts to the community. Long-term exposure to perfluorooctanoicacid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) can affect pregnant women and infants and cause cancer and liver and immune system impacts. While much research has been conducted on laboratory animals, the accompanying research related to humans is more limited.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

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Governor Vetoes Opt-Out Bill, Signs Legislation to Reduce Testing for All Students

Emphasizes importance of annual statewide assessment for improving schools, while saying the state must move forward with reducing time spent on other tests

Wilmington, DE – Governor Markell announced today that he has vetoed House Bill 50, which would allow for any student to be opted-out of any state or district assessment, while he signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which aims to eliminate unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant tests required by the state, districts, and individual schools.

In his veto statement (full text below), the Governor expressed agreement with concerns raised by parents and educators about the need to reduce the amount of time students spend on testing. However, he said he could not support encouraging opt-out of the annual state assessment, which provides information for teachers and school leaders to determine areas in which students are excelling or need additional help. It also represents a vital tool for evaluating the effectiveness and ensuring the best use of the more than $1 billion in state funds directed to the education system.

“HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving. It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation. That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned,” wrote the Governor in a statement delivered to the House of Representatives.

“I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing too much testing. I agree… And that is why I have signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which will bring together teachers, parents, civil rights leaders, and legislators to help us review our required assessments and eliminate those that are unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant.”

SJR 2 builds on an initiative started by the Governor earlier this year, when he announced an inventory of all required state assessments, and support for districts to take stock of assessments required at the local level. The legislation signed today brings legislators and other key groups into the process of reviewing the inventory results and making recommendations about what assessments should be cut. In addition to requiring completion of the inventory, SJR 2 will:

  • Require districts to report the results of the inventory, including assessments that will be eliminated;
  • Require the Department of Education to do the same thing at the state level;
  • Require the Department to publish the results of the inventories to the House and Senate Education Committees, and to the public; and
  • Require the Department to convene three members each of the House and Senate Education Committees, along with representatives of the state teachers union, the state’s superintendents, the civil rights community, and parents, to review the inventory results and make recommendations about assessments to eliminate, with final results reported publicly by June 2016.

Civil rights groups and Delaware employers, along with the State Board of Education and teachers and school leaders, applauded the Governor’s decision:

“We strongly support Governor Markell’s decision to veto House Bill 50 because we must know if our children are learning, and we cannot fix what we cannot measure. If too many children opt out, we’ll lose perspective on how our children are doing with achieving the proficiency most important to succeeding in today’s world. We’d risk being unable to make meaningful demographic comparisons and track progress in relationship to other schools, districts, states, and countries.

“If a school misses its threshold on participation, it also has implications for school accountability and funding, potentially harming the most challenged in our communities: particularly families of color, families struggling with poverty, and families who need special education services or are learning English. While we support reducing the number of tests and the total testing time for our students, opt-out is not the way to accomplish this goal. We thank the Governor for recognizing this and understanding that we need to know where our children are on the learning curve in order to hold those responsible for teaching our children accountable.”

– Deborah T. Wilson (President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League), Maria Matos (President and CEO of the Latin American Community Center), H. Raye Jones Avery (Executive Director of the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Inc.) and Jea P. Street (New Castle County Councilman for District 10)

“As employers in Delaware, as supporters of Delaware public schools, and as parents, we thank the Governor for his veto of House Bill 50. There are better ways to deal with legitimate concerns about over-testing, and we support the effort by the Administration and General Assembly to reduce testing for all students through Senate Joint Resolution 2.

“We must have a way to determine how our children compare against others in their school, the state, and the world. Opt out would damage that process. It signals to businesses and the families that we shouldn’t strive for all of our students to graduate ready for college or the workplace. The results of the annual state assessment inform families and educators on student progress, and will provide lawmakers with a better view of how millions of tax dollars are being spent. As business leaders and as parents, we need our education system to support each and every student and school in our state to help them succeed.”

– Mark Stellini (CEO Chair of Delaware State Chamber of Commerce), Rich Heffron (President Delaware State Chamber of Commerce), Mark Turner (Chair of Delaware Business Roundtable), Ernie Dianastasis (Chair of Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee), Bob Perkins (Executive Director for Business Roundtable)

“We have openly and repeatedly shared the Board’s opposition to this bill, which we believe will do real and lasting damage to both our education system as a whole, and our goal of ensuring that all of our students – irrespective of their gender, race, or socio-economic background – graduate from our schools ready for college, career, and citizenship.

“Should HB 50 become law and parents simply decide to opt their child out of the assessment, teachers and administrators will be unable to collect and use the data to address necessary improvements to the curriculum, as well as identify specific areas where students are struggling and where they are excelling. This is especially important information for our most vulnerable populations who may need additional support and assistance. Furthermore, we will be at risk of not complying with federal requirements with regard to test administration and school accountability, potentially jeopardizing millions in federal Title I funding, which directly impacts those children and schools that need support the most.”

– President Teri Quinn Gray and Vice President Jorge Melendez (State Board of Education)

“I believe the opt-out movement has been driven in part by many misconceptions about the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  The main misconception about the assessment is the amount of time it takes to complete it. The math portion of the test is made up of 35 questions along with one performance task. In my class of special needs students, the test takes up a minimal amount of time compared to past state assessments. It is also aligned to the curriculum and standards teachers are using, so there is no need to do anything special to ‘teach to the test.’ The results of the state assessment provides teachers the necessary data to help their students and I appreciate the Governor’s opposition to House Bill 50.”

– Jesse Parsley (teacher, Milford School District)

“I understand the concerns that have been expressed over the stress some students experience in taking tests. However, my experience has been that students benefit when we challenge them to meet a higher bar – when we give them the chance to see how well they can perform.  Further, my experience is that our teachers are on board. They are working hard to make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure that students are learning and that their learning is measured.

“One primary mechanism to measure that learning is through standardized tests; right now the test is “Smarter Balanced.” I believe that we will make the necessary adjustments to meet the demands of this test. We have a responsibility to give our children the best possible education, and these tests are an important measure to gauge that education and the  academic progress of all students.”

– Patricia Oliphant (principal, Sussex Academy)

“Strong educators at every level assess students constantly. The state assessment is an important piece of the puzzle as it can help us understand how our students are performing and their progression from year to year. Test results also help push us to make the necessary changes to ensure students aren’t falling behind and help us reflect on instructional choices. Whether or not you support opt out is a different question than whether students are over-tested. We should still do more to evaluate the volume of tests, or the value of the existing ones, and I urge the Governor, the Department of Education and the General Assembly to keep an open dialogue with teachers, parents and stakeholders so that together we can solve even the toughest of testing questions.”

– Courtney Fox (Head of School at First State Montessori Academy and former State Teacher of the Year from Brandywine School District)

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Governor Markell Statement to House of Representatives Vetoing House Bill 50:

July 16, 2015

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OF THE 148TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

 

Pursuant to Article III, Section 18 of the Delaware Constitution, I am vetoing House Bill 50 by returning it with my objections to the House of Representatives without my signature.

We have no higher priority as a state than providing all of our children with a world-class education, and ensuring that they are prepared to compete in the increasingly global economy.  Every child, no matter his or her family situation or income or background, deserves the chance to reach his or her potential.  Their future, and the future of our state, depends on a quality education.

House Bill 50 would not help prepare our children, or our state, for success in the economy of tomorrow.  To the contrary, HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving.  It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation.  That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned.

Universal statewide assessments provide our teachers, parents, and education officials with objective information about how children are doing – not just in their classrooms, or in their schools, but relative to their peers across the state and the country.  These test results are the clearest way we can evaluate whether our efforts to improve Delaware schools are working.  The state spends more than one billion dollars on education every year, and we all deserve to know whether those resources are spent well and whether our students are making progress.

If the test results don’t paint an accurate picture, particularly if struggling students are disproportionately encouraged to opt out as has happened elsewhere, we may not be able to identify the children who need intervention to be successful.  That is why civil rights groups in Delaware and across the country – including the NAACP, the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the National Council of La Raza, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund – strongly support universal testing requirements and oppose “opt-out” legislation.   Low-income students, students with disabilities, and students of color have benefitted the most from the adoption of statewide testing requirements.  Those tests help us identify individual and groups of students who need more support, effectively focus additional resources on preparing our young people to reach their potential, and hold schools and districts accountable for ensuring that all of our students are learning.  That is also why federal law requires us to assess at least 95 percent of our students to receive millions of dollars in federal funding – it’s that important.  The loss of those federal funds, which disproportionately support low-income and high-needs students, is a risk I am unwilling to take.

I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing too much testing.  I agree.  While I believe strongly in the value of a universal statewide assessment to tell us whether our students are making progress, the first priority of our schools must be to ensure that our students have the time they need to learn.  But to address that concern, we should not be encouraging certain students to opt out of a test that provides valuable information – we should eliminate entire tests for all of our children and put that time to work in the classroom.

That is why the Department of Education is conducting an inventory of all required state assessments, and providing districts with financial and technical support to do the same at the local level.  And that is why I have signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which will bring together teachers, parents, civil rights leaders, and legislators to help us review our required assessments and eliminate those that are unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant.

I also understand, and have taken action to address, other frustrations that have led some parents and teachers to support HB 50, including concerns about the design of the Smarter Balanced statewide assessments and the use of student data for teacher evaluations and school accountability.  We asked for, and received, permission from the U.S. Department of Education to delay using Smarter Balanced results in teacher evaluation for two full years, while we all adjust to the new test.  We use many other measures to evaluate the progress of our students, and the effectiveness of our teachers, because we understand assessments are only one snapshot of our students’ success.  We have approved a process to allow schools and districts to pilot new educator evaluation systems.  We are continuing to provide feedback on Smarter Balanced to help make it better.  And we don’t require our students to take or pass the Smarter Balanced assessments for advancement or graduation.

I am committed to working with our entire education community to continue to address those concerns, but HB 50 is not part of the solution.  This bill does not reduce testing and does not say anything about how the state uses test results.  The only effect of HB 50 would be to establish a process for individual parents to prevent their individual students from participating in the Smarter Balanced English and math tests and any district assessment, which doesn’t solve the problems that our parents and teachers have named.  However, it can undermine our ability to identify students who need help and to measure our schools’ improvements.

In today’s economy, opportunity is increasingly tied to the quality of one’s education and our schools are the key to giving all of our children – especially those from struggling neighborhoods – the best chance to realize their potential. But we can’t make that possible if we find out too late that students have fallen behind.  If House Bill 50 becomes law, we will not know if many of our students really are on track to graduate ready for college or the workplace.

I cannot support a bill that runs counter to our efforts to ensure an objective, consistent, and reliable measure of all of our students’ progress. Without it, many students would be too easily forgotten.

Sincerely,

 

Jack A. Markell

Governor

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Governor’s Weekly Message: Supporting Student Progress Through Effective Assessments

Wilmington – In his weekly message, filmed at William Penn High School, Governor Markell highlights a statewide effort announced earlier this week to reduce school testing.

“The fact that assessments play an important role in supporting our students means we must invest the time and resources in getting them right,” said Governor Markell. “While effective tests are vital, unnecessary tests don’t provide educators with valuable information, and they take away valuable teaching time. By supporting our most effective assessments and eliminating others, we’ll better support our educators and students, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/-0ivjm5F6AU
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
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Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Supporting Student Progress Through Effective Assessments


Governor Launches Effort to Reduce School Testing

Photos from today’s event

Emphasizes value of requiring key assessments to track student progress while saying schools should end other tests

Wilmington, DE – Calling for the elimination of repetitive and ineffective assessments, Governor Markell today launched a review of tests administered by the state, districts, and individual schools with the goal of decreasing the testing burden on students and teachers and increasing the time available for teaching. The effort, announced at William Penn High School, addresses concerns of parents and teachers about the amount of time spent on testing and how those tests are ultimately used.Testing Inventory

“Our educators, our students, and their parents all deserve the benefits of effective assessments that show when students are excelling and when they need extra support,” said Markell. “At the same time, tests that don’t add meaningfully to the learning process mean less time for students to receive the instruction and support they need. We are committed to finding the right balance, and this initiative is an important part of that process.”

The Governor noted that some local tests may repeat the purpose of statewide exams, while others may have outlived their usefulness but continue to be offered because administrators haven’t had the time or resources to fairly gauge their effectiveness.

To support a statewide testing review, each school district will receive financial and technical support from the Department of Education to take an inventory of all assessments given in each school. That includes funding to pay someone to lead the review over the next four months. The state will also provide assistance in communicating new testing plans to parents, families, and communities.

“This is a particularly timely moment for us to discuss the role of assessments in our schools as we shift to an improved and less time-consuming statewide test this year,” said Murphy. “We must also provide our districts with the support they need to evaluate all of their exams so we can assure teachers and parents that we are tracking students’ progress while maximizing instructional time.”

The state’s new assessment, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, will be given only once a year, compared to the previous assessment, which was offered up to 3 times a year. While the new Smarter Balanced test is more thorough, it will still cut total testing time by up to seven hours and take well under one percent of school hours per year.

For the first time, the state will test critical thinking and writing ability – two of the most important skills students will need to succeed in their futures – instead of asking only multiple-choice bubble questions.Testing Inventory

“Is there too much testing? Absolutely,” said Rep. Earl Jaques, who chairs the House Education Committee. “This effort to look at the 70 percent of the tests that we control as a state is a great start to address this issue. We know there are good tests that are necessary but also need to identify which ones are redundant and can possibly be weeded out. I look forward to hearing back from the group on their findings.”

Emphasizing the value of continuing to support high quality assessments during the statewide review, Markell referenced his support for Professional Learning Communities during which teachers meet in small groups to review student data, identify struggling students, and review which lessons are most successful. He also addressed the small, but vocal group of advocates in the state pushing to opt students out of required tests.

“Opting out would deny our schools a full picture of their students’ progress, and those who don’t take the tests would be denied the opportunity to receive additional support.  Students will fall through the cracks and be left behind.  That’s why the teachers, principals, and administrators I speak with, along with civil rights groups in Delaware and across America, are strongly opposed to this movement, and support universal, statewide, annual testing to make sure our students are learning and getting the help they need to succeed.”

Deborah Wilson, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, attended the announcement to deliver a message reflecting a recent statement on assessments from the National Urban League.

“The National Urban League stands behind federal requirement and use of standardized assessments because this data is essential to hold states, districts and schools accountable for student learning and to address disparities and inequities where they exist,” read the statement. “However, we also acknowledge the outsized time local and district assessments take in today’s classrooms…States and districts should utilize only the most valid and useful assessments to ensure that the maximum amount of classroom time is spent on learning and reducing the time required to take and prepare for assessments.”

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