Delaware Shows Growth in DCAS Results
Delaware students showed tremendous progress in 2011-2012 according to recently released DCAS data – highlighting areas of improvement while shining a spotlight on those that require greater attention.
Promising results include:
- An increase of seven percent proficient in reading (61 to 68 percent) and math (62 to 69 percent); and
- A two to four percent increase in the percent of students scoring advanced.
While these results are no doubt promising, areas that require greater focus going forward include:
- Students with disabilities, who made some progress between last school year and this school year; and
- Science and social studies, where students showed minimal gains compared to the previous school year.
So what does this all mean? For starters, the ELA and math gains are slightly ahead of our ESEA waiver targets – meaning that we have met our overall student growth goals for the year and are on track to continue producing results with students. This is especially impressive since we reduced our n count, incorporating more students into our overall calculation compared to the previous school year. Second, as the DOE highlights, many educators attribute these gains to various components of the Race to the Top plan, including professional learning communities and the new assessment system. This response highlights that the difficult work we have undertaken throughout the past two years might be taking hold, albeit with a lot of work still to do.
While these data are no doubt good news, numerous questions remain – such as what was the growth in proficiency across schools, particularly Partnership Zone schools? How do these proficiency numbers stack up compared to the more rigorous measure on the National Assessment of Educational Progress? How do the proficiency gains compare to overall student growth – did some schools make even more progress with students under the radar that should be commended? Or did some schools have high proficiency but not push students as far and fast as they could have?
These are all questions that will be answered in the coming months. For now, one of the critical conversations that must take place is an honest assessment of what’s working and what’s not through Race to the Top in order to determine what we should double down on, work over the course of the next year to improve, or eventually remove from our school system.
And while those will no doubt happen soon, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate the students, teachers, parents, and all other stakeholders for the tremendous progress and hope we keep up the good work next school year.