Dover, Del.–October 20, 2005 The State Board of Education today approved recommendations from Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff to adjust some performance standards or “cut points” for reading, mathematics and writing at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 for the Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP). The State Board also approved cut points that have been established for the first time for grades 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 in the same content areas. Cut points depict how well a student is performing in each of the content areas and are identified by five distinct performance levels: Meets the Standard; Exceeds the Standard; Distinguished; Below the Standard and Well Below the Standard.
In 2003, a decision was made to transition to the new Stanford Achievement Test (SAT10) for reading comprehension and mathematics problem solving which is now part of Delaware’s DSTP program. At the same time, Secretary Woodruff felt it was good practice to periodically review cut scores to determine whether they are set too low, too high, or set just right. Therefore, following the administration of the March 2005 DSTP in reading, writing and math, panels were formed to begin the review process.
“We established these performance standards in 1999,” said Secretary Woodruff. “Since that time, there has been much discussion about the appropriateness of where the cut points were set.Therefore, we brought panel members together to take a good, hard look at each of the cut points and to provide us with their best judgment as to where these performance standards should be.The majority of panelists were teachers and others familiar with the content standards. They are the experts, they know the content, they know their students.”
From March through August 2005, more than 280 classroom teachers, educators, administrators and representatives from Delaware educational organizations and business communitiesthroughout the state participated in the review process. The process included participating in alignment studies, performance level descriptor development and review workshops, and ultimately making recommendations on where the cut points should be established.
Overall, with an existing 48 cut points already established in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 before the review, 25 cut points remained the same, 14 were lowered and 9 were raised. Any cut adjustments made higher or lower will generally mean a difference of one or two test questions on the DSTP assessment.
“These adjustments are not huge swings,” said Secretary Woodruff. “The cuts were set in a realistic manner in a very thoughtful process. I have complete faith in our educators.They want to do the right thing for our students. I think the changes are very reasonable and the panel is to be commended for doing a great job.”
The approved cut points will go into effect beginning with the March 2006 DSTP administration.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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