Delaware: Educational Accountability (page 2)
Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP)
The Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP) is the foundation for student, school and school district accountability. The DSTP has been in place since 1998 and helps measure how well students are performing against the standards established by Delaware educators, parents and the community. Test results help identify student strengths and individual learning needs and guide teachers as they enhance instruction. DSTP results also help districts determine student promotion from grade to grade. Students in grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 are tested in reading, writing and mathematics while students in grades 4, 6, 8 and 11 are tested in science and social studies. We often refer to these grades as the “accountability grades” since they are used to determine district and school accountability ratings. There are five performance levels for these grades:
Level 5 Distinguished
Level 4 Exceeds the Standard
Level 3 Meets the Standard
Level 2 Below the Standard
Level 1 Well Below the Standard
Students in grades 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 are also tested in reading, writing and mathematics. The scores for these grades are used to help us know if students are making progress towards the standards and serve as an “early warning” for students who need extra help. Beginning in 2006, these grades will become part of the school and district rating determinations.
You can find more information about the DSTP at:
No Child Left Behind
Establishing Goals for Student Achievement.
The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law required states to set student performance targets for English/Language Arts and for Mathematics. Schools and districts are to meet or exceed the targets set for each year. Schools and districts are required to test at least 95% of their students in the tested grades each year. In addition, they are to maintain or make progress on Other Academic Indicators (OAI). NCLB requires school and district ratings to be based on the performance of ALL students and on the performance of subgroups of students. There are eight subgroups including the five major racial/ethnic categories: White, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and American Indian as well as Special Education students, Limited English Proficient students and Economically Disadvantaged students.
Adequate Yearly Progress
Performance Targets for Every Student Group.
In order for a school or school district to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) the school or district must meet every performance target for every subgroup for English/Language Arts and for Mathematics if there are at least 40 students in the subgroup. Also, at least 95% of each subgroup must take the test and the school or district must meet the OAI.
Other Academic Indicators
An Additional Measure of Progress.
In 2004, the Other Academic Indicator (OAI) for elementary and middle schools was changed. The Other Indicator for elementary and middle schools is measured by an increase in the average of scale scores for students performing at Performance Levels 1 and 2 in reading and mathematics combined or a decrease in the percentage of students performing at Performance Level 1 in reading and mathematics combined. The OAI for high school is the graduation rate.
Delaware Accountability System
In 2004, changes were made to the accountability system that would not only meet the NCLB requirements but also incorporate elements of Delaware’s original accountability system. We did this to ensure more valid and reliable accountability ratings and to reflect the positive work our schools and districts are doing to help our children succeed.
State Progress Determination
One new element is the State Progress Determination (SPD). This measures the improvement in the composite scale score in reading, mathematics, science and social studies, combined.
Defining Schools by Student Performance
School ratings are given based on their student’s performance on the DSTP. The ratings are as follows:
Superior: AYP is met while the school is not under improvement and additional rigorous state criteria are met.
Commendable: AYP is met while the school is not under improvement.
Academic Review: AYP is not met for one year and SPD is met or AYP is not met for one year and SPD is not met or
AYP is met and SPD is not met (second year).
Academic Progress: AYP is not met (different subject) two or more years and SPD is met.
Academic Progress – Under Improvement: AYP is not met (same subject) two or more years and SPD is met.
Academic Watch: AYP is not met two or more years (different subject) and SPD is not met.
Academic Watch – Under Improvement: AYP is not met two or more years (same subject) and SPD is not met.
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