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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna schools continue to excel at DCAS state testing

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  • With the last DCAS test administered this spring, students in the Smyrna School District continue to show growth as schools across the state will be changing to the Smarter Balanced testing system next year.
    Smyrna School District Curriculum Director Dr. Sandy Shalk said the 2013-2014 school year was another good year testing wise for students in the district.
    “Either we’re above the state average in most categories or at the state average in some categories,” Shalk said. “We had a strong effort and showed improvement in the special education cell, which is reducing the achievement gap.”
    Shalk said the state scores as a whole remained relatively flat this year in reading and math this year. However, the reading and math scores in the elementary schools remains strong in the Smyrna School District, well above the state average.
    While Smyrna students continue to show growth in the DCAS testing, they’ll have to tame another state testing beast when Smarter Balanced rolls in and replaces DCAS test next year.
    Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, students will only take one test a year, which will be the Smarter Balanced test in the spring.
    Shalk said the purpose for changing from DCAS to Smarter Balanced was done to make testing more aligned with Common Core Standards.
    “It’s [Smarter Balanced] a national effort Delaware has signed on to. DCAS is a homegrown test,” Shalk said. “We’ll be in this [Smarter Balanced] with a number of other states.”
    In the new Smarter Balanced test, Shalk said there will be multiple levels of questions from basic knowledge to questions that require a higher order of thinking.
    Some people may think changing to the new test will make this year’s DCAS scores irrelevant; however Shalk said that may not necessarily be the case.
    “The state hasn’t officially announced this yet but they need to be able to show growth from one year to the next,” Shalk said. “Because of the way accountability reads and thus school ratings have to compare one year to the other, or one test to the other. They’ve been comparing fall to spring test results. Next year it’s likely they’ll compare spring to spring so it’s likely they’ll use DCAS scores as a measure.”
    Shalk said the decision to possibly compare this year’s DCAS results to next year’s Smarter Balanced results could be made within the month. Moreover, since there are roughly 20 other states using Smarter Balanced, Shalk said the state could compare test results with results from other states.
    Page 2 of 2 - To prepare for testing next spring, Shalk said teachers will teach the Common Core Standards as well as practice assessments.
    “We’re proud of the effort students put into testing and the support the parents give as we move forward through all this,” Shalk said. “A lot is expected of students these days. We feel Smyrna students have risen to the occasion and should do well in the years to come.”
    By the numbers
    Reading Scores
    • Grade 3 – 80.26% met the state standard; state average – 70.27%
    • Grade 4 – 82.05% met the state standard; state average – 73.08%
    • Grade 5 – 81.05% met the state standard; state average – 76.40%
    • Grade 6 – 80.65% met the state standard; state average – 73.07%
    • Grade 7 – 72.47% met the state standard; state average – 71.12%
    • Grade 8 – 70.19% met the state standard; state average – 71.34%
    • Grade 9 – 62.20% met the state standard; stage average – 65.89%
    • Grade 10 – 75.49% met the state standard; stage average – 75.08%
    Math Scores
    • Grade 3 – 83.5% met the state standard; state average – 71.86%
    • Grade 4 – 84.02% met the state standard; state average – 74.49%
    • Grade 5 – 68.78% met the state standard; stage average – 70.62%
    • Grade 6 – 69.53% met the state standard; state average – 65.54%
    • Grade 7 – 66.04% met the state standard; state average – 65.54%
    • Grade 8 – 73.8% met the state standard; state average – 68.53%
    • Grade 9 – 58.66% met the state standard; state average – 67.23%
    • Grade 10 – 60.39% met the state standard; state average – 68.45%
    Science Scores
    • Grade 5 – 42.89% met the state standard; state average – 48.94%
    • Grade 8 – 56.04% met the state standard; state average – 51.38%
    • Grade 10 – 41.53% met the state standard; state average - 45.53%
    Social Studies Scores
    • Grade 4 – 71.69% met the state standard; state average – 64.94%
    • Grade 7 – 55.79% met the state standard; state average - 58.55%

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