Dover, Del.–July 17, 2003 Earlier today, at the monthly State Board of Education meeting, Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff released the resultsof the Spring 2003 Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP) examinations administered to Delaware students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10.For the sixth consecutive year, students were tested in areas of reading, mathematics and writing.
Results are as follows:
READING:In third grade reading, 79 percent of the students who took the DSTP met or exceeded the standard, the same as in 2002.Fifth grade reading performance also stayed constant at 78%. Seventy percent of eighth grade students tested met or exceededthe reading standard, a two-point dip from last year. In the tenth grade, the proportion of students meeting or exceeding the standardrose to 67 percent, a one-point increase from 2002.
MATHEMATICS:In the third grade, 74 percent of children tested met the standards—a two-point increase from the scores of last year’s third graders.In the fifth grade, 71 percent of students tested met the standard, an increase of four points from the scores of last year’s fifth graders.The proportion of this year’s eighth grade students meeting or exceeding the standard is 47%, one point lower than last year’s eighth graders.Of this year’s tenth graders, 45% performed at or above standard, two points higher than the tenth graders of 2002.
WRITING: In writing, third grade student scores dropped to 39 percent meeting the standard—a 7-point decrease from last year’s third graders.Sixty percent of fifth grade students met the standard, an increase of 11 points. In the eighth grade,78 percent of students tested in writing met the standard, compared to 72 percent of last year’s eighth graders.In the tenth grade, the most substantial increase in any of the content areas occurred, with 73% of students meeting the standard,compared to 49 percent one year ago—a 24% increase.
With the latest scores, Delaware’s national percentile ranking continued to climb or remained steady in both reading and mathematicsin all four grades. The national percentile ranks are based on a portion of the Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Edition (SAT9),which is embedded in the DSTP.
Governor Minner stated that today’s results show a continual improvement trend in most of the tested areas, but more work is still needed.“Each year, we see more and more of our students meeting the rigorous standards established by Delaware’s educators,and that is the goal of our education initiatives. Today’s results also clearly show there are childrenwho need additional instruction to help them meet these standards. With the ongoing efforts of our outstanding educatorsas well as the support that is needed of parents, I truly believe that every child can succeed.”
Secretary Woodruff agreed. “This is the sixth year we have administered the DSTP in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 in reading, mathematics and writing.Since that time, Delaware has seen continued positive growth in most of the content areas.” Added Woodruff,“Like the Governor, I am extremely proud of the hard work from all of our educators and what they are doing to meet the needs of our students.Administrators at all levels and teachers at every grade are focusing on student achievement in order to ensure a quality education for every student.”
However, Secretary Woodruff expressed concern about elementary grade writing scores.“One week ago, we released the results of the 2002 National Assessment in Educational Progress (NAEP) Writing testadministered to students in grades 4 and 8. Our fourth grade NAEP scores were among the highest in the nation,yet today’s release of our DSTP writing scores in grade 3 show only 39% are meeting the standard.” Added Secretary Woodruff,“There seems to be a disconnect between the NAEP and the DSTP in this area.However, since we finally have a national benchmark we can compare to, we can and we will take a very hard look at what we are doing.If adjustments need to be made, then they will be made.”
Secretary Woodruff also stated that middle school and high school math scores aren’t where they should be.“The State of Delaware had applied for a large federal grant to help us provide comprehensive professional developmentfor math teachers at the middle school and high school grades. Unfortunately, we did not receive the grant,” said Woodruff.“Therefore, we will now pool funding from several sources which will then be used to focus on math instruction,further align the curriculum to content standards and provide additional instructional support to teachers to help improve students’ math skills.”
Because of the technology infrastructure that now exists within the Department of Education,school districts were able to access a password-secured website on May 28th.Within the first 24 hours, nearly 64,000 ‘hits’ were recorded on the website. Just two days later, more than 100,000 hits were made.Since the end of May, nearly 286,000 hits have been made by administrators, teachers, counselorsand those registered to access the password-secured website. The information provided on the DOE website was used by educatorsto help make decisions for summer programs and to begin work on Individual Improvement Plans.
School personnel, parents, policy makers, and the media are encouraged to visit DOE’s website athttp://www.doe.k12.de.us/aabto look at data pertinent to them and to their schools.DOE has also established a DSTP hotline for those who may be looking for additional information.The toll free number to call is 1-877-838-DSTP.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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