our 10th grade scores this year are invalid," Gail Ames,
director of research and assessment said at the board's June 20
meeting. "Our 10th grade testing had to be delayed by several
days because we didn't get the materials. That created a very
negative test atmosphere."
not give further details, but Robin Taylor, assistant state
secretary of education, later said that delivery of only one
packet of material, the writing test for Dickinson High School,
was delayed. That was the only glitch in the state in the
distribution and administration of the test. United Parcel
Service delivered the test materials.
said she was unaware of any protest from Red Clay. After
district officials informed the Department of Education about
the situation, they were given permission to have Dickinson
students take the writing test on other than Mar. 15, the
scheduled date for administering the test throughout the state.
replaced all the material right away and they had the [reading
and math] tests in plenty of time to give [those tests] on the
scheduled days. We told them it was all right to wait until
after [the other tests] to give the writing [one]," Taylor said.
average score on this year's writing test at Dickinson was 6.61,
down from 6.92 in 2000. The district average on the high school
test dropped to 6.79 from 7.25 last year. Red Clay
administrators reportedly were on a 'retreat' and Ames was
unavailable for further comment when her office was contacted by
the school board that she had worked out a matrix for reporting
test results in the district which shows year-to-year
comparisons based on the numbers of students meeting or
exceeding state standards. That, she said, was more meaningful
than reporting averages. It would show changes -- for better or
worse -- in student performance and thereby provide a better
indicator of how the district measures up against state
detailed breakdown which would show differences in each of the
five reporting categories -- meeting the standard, exceeding the
standard, 'distinguished' performance, below standard and well
below standard -- makes it possible to determine what is
happening at each level, Ames said.
increases in the number of students at the top and decreases in
the number at the bottom. We don't just want to settle for
average," she said.
first time any school district has attempted to do what the
state testing doesn't do," said school board president William
his comments beyond the reporting, Manning went on to say that
if districts and their administrators are to be held accountable
for student performance they need "something that is a better
instrument and administered efficiently."
now we're having to work around the [state testing program]," he
said. "It is actually a hindrance, and not an asset in getting
us to where we want to go."
stopped short of providing the board with actual numbers from
her matrix, explaining that the Department of Education had
placed school administrators under a 'strict embargo' against
disclosing any information before it was announced by Secretary
of Education Valerie Woodruff and Governor Ruth Ann Minner.
received test results around the end of May. They were made
available to districts and schools before the academic year
ended on June 9, but not in a statewide context. Members of the
Red Clay board did not receive their copies of the district
report from DelDOE before the June 20 meeting, the night before
the state report was 'released' in Dover.
was unable to determine from either Brandywine or Red Clay
district sources who was allowed to know what and when they were
allowed to know. Nor could anyone say what, if any, sanctions
would be imposed on anyone who violated the 'embargo'.
and guardians were to have received by mail an individual report
on their child's results on June 22 or 23.
Gough, DelDOE's public information officer, said the statewide
report was compiled and made public as quickly as it was
practical to do so.
Included in the many charts in the
200-page 'summary report' was breakdown of data for each school
by performance category. Delaforum has prepared charts showing
this information by school in each of the two districts upon
which it normally reports.