Delaware standardized test results show room for improvement

August 9, 2022 GMT

Less than one-fourth of Delaware high school students scored proficiently in math in standardized testing for the 2021-2022 school year, and less than half were proficient in reading, according to test results released Tuesday.

The results showed 47% of high school students proficient in reading on the SAT, 38% proficient on the essay portion, and 24% proficient in math.

Meanwhile, 30% of students in grades 3-8 were rated proficient in math, and 42% were proficient in English language arts.

In science, 20% of fifth graders, 17% of eighth graders and 26% of high school students were rated proficient.

In social studies, 32% of fourth-graders, 29% of seventh-graders and 24% of 11th graders scored at or above the proficient level.

For years, proficiency on standardized tests has been difficult to achieve for many Delaware school students. In 2019, for example, 53% of students ranked proficient in English language arts, compared to 54% in both 2018 and 2017, and 52% in 2015, the first year that the Smarter Balanced assessment was administered in grades 3-8. In math, 44% were proficient in 2019 and 2018, compared to 45% in 2017 and 39% in 2015.

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On the SAT, math proficiency among high school students was 29% in 2017, and 28% in 2018 and 2019. Reading proficiency was 53% in 2017, 50% in 2018 and 48% in 2019. Proficiency on the essay portion fell from 53% in 2017 to 44% in 2018 and 42% in 2019.

The U.S. Department of Education waived student assessment requirements in the 2019-2020 academic year because of coronavirus-related school closures, and student participation on standardized tests fell sharply last year.

Among students who did take standardized assessments in the 2020-2021 school year, 41% in grades 3-8 ranked proficient in English language arts, and 26% were proficient in math. On last year’s SAT, 49% were proficient in reading, 44% on the essay portion, and 28% in math.

State education officials suggested that school closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic were at least partly to blame for the latest results, which they said will serve as a “baseline for pandemic recovery.”

“Providing educational opportunities this summer has been a priority because we know students are continuing to recover from pandemic-related unfinished learning,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said in a statement. “Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and our educators are committed to continuing to meet students where they are to provide them the supports and learning time they need to succeed.”