Dover, Del.–March 14, 2006Delaware has become one of only two states in the nation to earn federal approval for its standardsand assessment system under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).In a letter from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to Secretary Valerie A. Woodruff,the Department commended Delaware on its approved standards and assessment system.The approval was based upon a review of:
- Delaware’s academic content standards.
- Performance level cut scores and performance level descriptors for the assessment.
- Technical adequacy of the assessments including reliability and validity.
- Alignment of the assessment to the content standards.
- The inclusion of students with disabilities and students with Limited English Proficiency, along with reasonable and appropriate accommodations for these students, as needed.
- Delaware’s system for reporting student, school and state level test results.
“My decision is based upon input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Educationand Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by Delaware,”said Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Henry L. Johnson. “I have concluded that the evidencedemonstrates that Delaware’s standards and assessment system satisfies the NCLB requirements.Specifically, Delaware’s system includes academic content and student achievement standardsin reading/language arts, mathematics and science; alternate achievement standards for studentswith the most significant cognitive disabilities in those subjects; assessments in each ofgrades 3 through 10 in reading/language arts and mathematics; assessments in science in three grade spans;and alternate assessments for each subject.”
To address the requirements of NCLB, the USDOE is required to “peer review” and approve each states’ systemof standards and assessments, as specified by law. “Peer reviewers” are national experts knowledgeablein the fields of standards and assessments. Delaware’s peer review focused on theDelaware Student Testing Program (DSTP) in grades 3-10 in English Language Arts,mathematics as well as grades 4, 6, 8 and 11 in science. The review also looked at theDelaware Alternate Portfolio Assessment (DAPA) for students with the most severe cognitive learning disabilities.
Delaware’s system received full approval along with one recommendation for improvement.Delaware must complete the development of new performance level descriptors for science.A plan is already in place to complete this work this summer.
“In the past two years alone, several hundred educators and stakeholders have been involvedin various efforts to review, develop and enhance Delaware’s standards and assessments system,”said Governor Ruth Ann Minner. “Their efforts have obviously paid off with the approvalthat we have received from the USDOE.”
“This is a wonderful tribute to the incredible work of so many here at the department,”said Secretary of Education Valerie A. Woodruff. “From the Assessment and Accountability Branchto the Curriculum and Instructional Improvement Branch, the commitment to ‘getting it right’ has been nothing shortof phenomenal. The energy, the enthusiasm and the commitment to education has been incredible.I am so proud of each one of them.”
Added Secretary Woodruff, “Although this letter states that we have approval for alternative assessments,this refers only to our DAPA for severely cognitive disabled students.We are still waiting for final guidelines from USDOE so that we can move forwardon developing more appropriate assessments for the students with disabilitieswho continue to struggle with the regular assessment.”
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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