Statewide assessment shows Delaware testing scores on decline, advocates urge stronger educator support
DELAWARE – “Listen to the people that are closest to the students. This is no longer the sort of system thinking that it’s one size fits all. It’s at a point where its broken,” Executive Director of First State Educate Laurisa Schutt said.
Education advocates are demanding change, this after Delaware’s end of year testing results were released this month revealing a concerning trend.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment revealed scores for students 3rd through 8th grade took a downwards turn in Math and English in comparison to 2019. “Again there are enormous barriers to these tests but they do tell us something and they tell us that we need to focus really differently right now,” Schutt said.
The assessment revealed that just 30% of elementary and middle students met grade level math requirements, while 42% percent earned a proficient score in English.
Schutt tells us those results show that teachers are in desperate need for more resources. “Those tools can be different. They could be manipulatives for math, curriculum that doesn’t change every year, and evidence based data that shows they have time to focus on the freedom to not pace with other teachers because your students are not quite there yet,” Schutt said.
Education advocates we spoke with say more tools for educators are only part of the solution. “Let’s give you the time to teach. Not the time where there’s so few adults in the classroom and so few adults in your school that we have to come pull you from your individual instruction and put you over on lunch duty. That’s not going to lead to literacy and we all know that,” Schutt.
The Indian River School District responded by saying plans are already in motion, with school leaders meeting with their teams to improve academic success.
They sent us a statement that reads in part: “Through the use of Federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief funds we were able to provide summer learning opportunities the past two years for our students and have hired additional teaching staff.”
First State Educate says the focus has to be on longer-term solutions and not just recovery from the pandemic, as the learning curve was a serious situation well before the health crisis.
It’s also worthy to note the scores were even broken down by factors that income to students with special needs.
Cape Henlopen school district also responded to the scores with a statement from Superintendent Bob Fulton that reads, in part, “Overall, our state test data has improved since 2021 but as we do each year, we will look at each grade and subject to determine what improvements can be made at the school and district levels.”
These results also come after the state received over $600 million over the last two years to tackle the learning gap caused by the pandemic. Education advocates say those measures weren’t enough and now more has to be done.