time to hit the panic button yet," Secretary of Education
Valerie Woodruff said on June 20 as she handed over to the
public her system's report card. "We're seeing some growth, but
we're not where we want to be. ... We're moving, but let's keep
thing that is absolutely clear from these numbers is that we're
doing better," said Governor Ruth Ann Minner who said her aim is
"to see to it that every child does just a little bit better
than they did on the last test" and pledged support from her
administration to achieve that goal.
The numbers -- results of the annual
state testing program -- showed some slippage in reading, modest
mathematics and marked improvement in writing. That is based on
a comparison of the portion of students meeting or exceeding
state standards in those subjects this year when compared to
last. Scores varied over the four grades -- third, fifth, eighth
and tenth -- that take the tests, but the general pattern was
essentially the same with state and district numbers.
If any alarms were tripped by this
year's testing it was in reading scores turned in by
third-graders. There was a statistically measurable drop across
individual schools and the districts.
That subject is universally
regarded as the key to all learning and proficiency
acquired in primary grades is considered essential for
future academic achievement. At the presentation of test
results, Woodruff reminded Minner that the governor had
neglected to include in her remarks a favorite
catchphrase: We learn to read so that we can read to
Test results are considered a
measure of the public school education reform program
Education secretary Valerie Woodruff uses flip charts to
present some of the student assessment results.
is the fourth year that the assessment tests have been given.
State law provides that results of the testing next spring will
determine which children have to attend and pass summer school
in order to be promoted and will be a major factor in deciding
what level of diploma is issued upon high school graduation.
summer school requirement were in effect this year, 4,700
students, or one of every seven who took the test, would be back
in the classroom as summer comes in.
sense, that mirrors the adage that, although the politicians
bring on the wars, it's the kids who have to fight them.
State-directed testing largely was implemented as a way to
measure how well teachers and the public school education
establishment are getting across the material necessary to meet
curriculum standards established by the system.
referred to that indirectly when she said the testing is part of
a program to assure that the state's young people are "ready to
meet the rigorous demands of the business world."
and Woodruff denied that the original legislative intent also
involved establishing a means for the public to evaluate school
districts and individual schools so they could make informed
judgments in make choices about where children are educated.
Private schools, however, are not included in the state-financed
testing program and, for the most part, have resisted seeking
entry into it. About a fourth of Delaware children attend
said the purpose of the testing is not to compare schools and
districts against each other but to compare performance by
schools and districts against their prior performance.
(Delaforum enables you to do it
either way by using the links below.)