Sussex County Delaware

Test Scores Show
Sussex High Schools
Failing Miserably


 
Sussex Beat, July 26, 2000

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.

CURRENT SUSSEX BEAT:

Eric Magill, Sussex County Online

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online
Publisher

Test Scores ...

Voice Your Opinion on Test Scores

Since releasing scores from the Spring 2000 Delaware Student Testing Program last month, state officials have been trumpeting the effectiveness of the state's education reform movement.

And while there is much to be encouraged about in Sussex County at the elementary school level, we have a serious problem in our county's high schools, where the Class of 2002 performed worse this year on the 10th grade tests than it did on the 8th grade tests in 1998.

Comparing scores of this year's 10th and 5th graders to the scores they recorded as 8th and 3rd graders in 1998 presents widely mixed results.

While the percentage of 5th graders (Class of 2007) meeting the Math and Reading standards rose dramatically in 2000 compared to their performances as 3rd graders in 1998, the percentages of this year's 10th graders actually declined from their 8th grade tests (not including Sussex Tech, which doesn't have an 8th grade, or Delmar, which didn't take the 8th grade test in 1998).

In addition, reform isn't working at all in Writing, where both 5th and 10th graders this year performed worse than they did as 8th and 3rd graders two years ago.

Statistically, fewer Sussex 10th graders met the Math standard in 2000 than they did as 8th graders in 1998 in all but one district -- Milford. In all, only 27.51 percent of 10th graders met the Math standard in 2000 compared to 31.58 percent who met the standard as 8th graders two years ago.

The most alarming number in the Math statistics was at Laurel High School, where unbelievably, only 7.69 percent of the 10th graders met the Math standard. Two years ago, 18.46 percent of those students met the Math standard as 8th graders. Woodbridge wasn't much better, with only 11.42 percent of the 10th graders meeting the standard in 2000 compared to 16.16 percent in 1998 as 8th graders.

In Reading, three districts improved but the overall percentage of Sussex 10th graders meeting the Reading standard dropped from 59.7 percent as 8th graders to 57.9 percent as 10th graders.

In Writing, the percentage of Sussex 10th graders meeting the standard dropped 9 percent from their 1998 performance, from 49.87 percent to 40.97 percent.

On the bright side, this year's 5th graders (Class of 2007) registered dramatic improvements over their performances as 3rd graders in 1998.

In Math, 65.54 percent of the Class of 2007 met the standard as 5th graders compared to 53.55 percent who met the standard as 3rd graders. In Reading, 71.27 percent met the standard as 5th graders compared to 60.47 percent who met the standard as 3rd graders.

Only in Writing did the Class of 2007 decline, but it was a big decline, with only 39.45 percent meeting the standard as 5th graders compared to 56.35 percent who met the standard as 3rd graders.

So what does this tell us? For one thing, Writing no longer appears to be important in our schools even though it's half of the literacy equation.

But it also tells us that while we can be justifiably proud of the strides being made in our elementary schools (excluding writing, of course), a State of Emergency needs to be declared in our high schools in Sussex County, particularly Laurel and Woodbridge, where an unbelievably low percentage of students are meeting the standards.

Parents, teachers, administrators, officials and citizens need to ensure that our high school students don't get lost in the excitement over the improvement in the elementary schools.


Highlights, Lowlights ...

Following is a look at the highlights and lowlights from Sussex County schools in the 2000 Delaware Student Testing Program. The following figures look at how 10th and 5th graders fared in 2000 compared to their performances as 8th and 3rd graders in 1998.

Sussex Test Highlights
  • Milford High School 10th graders far outperformed the rest of the county's high schools with 40.3 percent meeting the Math standard (the only school with more than 40 percent), 73.13 percent meeting the Reading standard (second only to Sussex Tech's 74.06 percent), and 70.91 percent meeting the Writing standard (15 percent ahead of runnerup Sussex Tech).

  • The Indian River School District showed the most improvement in Math and Reading, with 78.17 percent of 5th graders meeting the Math standard in 2000 compared to 53.12 percent as 3rd graders in 1998, and 78.74 percent of 5th graders meeting the Reading standard in 2000 compared to 60.34 percent as 3rd graders in 1998.

  • The biggest improvement of any school in the county in any subject was Showell Elementary in Selbyville, where 91.17 percent of the 5th graders met the Math standard in 2000 after only 26.67 percent of those same students met the standard in 1998.

  • Lord Baltimore Elementary in Ocean View posted the most impressive single subject performance with 95.65 percent of its 5th graders meeting the Math standard in 2000.

  • In the Cape Henlopen district, 82.47 percent of the 5th graders met the Math standard after only 67.04 percent had met the standard as 3rd graders and 83.79 percent met the Reading standard after only 68.54 percent had met that standard as 3rd graders.

  • Only 39.73 percent of Woodbridge's 3rd graders in 1998 met the Math standard, but as 5th graders in 2000, that class improved to 55.25 percent meeting the standard.

  • In Laurel, 56.88 percent of the 5th graders met the Math standard compared to 45.91 percent when that class took the test as 3rd graders. That class also improved quite a bit in reading, with 70.24 percent meeting the Reading standard in 2000 compared to 57.33 percent in 1998.
Sussex Test Lowlights
  • Laurel High School 10th graders are in a state of crisis in Math -- only 7.69 percent of the Class of 2002 there met the Math standard this year. Only 18.46 percent of the class had met the Math standard in 1998 as 8th graders.

  • Only 11.42 percent of Woodbridge 10th graders met the Math standard in 2000. Just 16.16 percent had met the standard in 1998 as 8th graders.

  • Milford was the only 10th grade class with more than 40 percent of its students to meet the Math standards

  • Frankford Elementary 5th graders declined in Math with only 61.82 percent meeting the standard in 2000 compared to 65.72 percent who met the standard as 3rd graders in 1998.

  • Seaford elementary students' performances also declined, although not by much. Only 51.4 percent of 5th graders in Seaford met the standards two years after 52.91 percent of those students met the standard in 1998.

  • Will our students be able to communicate? Only the Milford and Woodbridge 10th graders posted improvements on the 2000 Writing test, and Woodbridge was nothing to write home about -- only 17.65 percent of Woodbridge 10th graders met the standard in 2000 compared to 15.71 percent who met the standard as 8th graders in 1998. The Writing scores, to put it mildly, were abysmal.

School Test Comparisons ...

The following tables show how 10th and 5th grade students fared on the 2000 Delaware Student Testing Program compared to how they fared when they took the test as 8th and 3rd grade students, respectively, in 1998. The numbers show the percentage of students who met or exceeded the standards in each subject.

MATH TEST
(Percentage of students who met or exceeded Math standards)
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
5
82.47
67.04
Indian River School District
5
78.17
53.12
Laurel School District
5
56.88
45.91
Milford School District
5
69.07
62.60
Seaford School District
5
51.4
52.91
Woodbridge School District
5
55.25
39.73
Sussex Average
5
65.54
53.55
State Average *
5
62.07
54.76
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
10
39.82
50.48
Indian River School District
10
35.73
35.97
Laurel School District
10
7.69
18.46
Milford School District
10
40.3
37.33
Seaford School District
10
30.09
31.06
Woodbridge School District
10
11.42
16.16
Sussex Average
10
27.51
31.58
State Average *
10
35.56
36.06

* Includes Sussex County test scores


READING TEST
(Percentage of students who met or exceeded Reading standards)
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
5
83.79
68.54
Indian River School District
5
78.74
60.34
Laurel School District
5
70.24
57.33
Milford School District
5
70.45
69.46
Seaford School District
5
59.61
51.17
Woodbridge School District
5
64.78
56
Sussex Average
5
71.27
60.47
State Average *
5
69.27
61.54
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
10
71.43
70.53
Indian River School District
10
58.8
63.97
Laurel School District
10
45.71
52.63
Milford School District
10
73.13
69.96
Seaford School District
10
53.24
58.54
Woodbridge School District
10
45.28
42.65
Sussex Average
10
57.9
59.7
State Average *
10
61.32
60.81

* Includes Sussex County test scores


WRITING TEST
(Percentage of students who met or exceeded Writing standards)
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
5
38.75
58.85
Indian River School District
5
49.26
55.83
Laurel School District
5
41.4
53.85
Milford School District
5
40.26
46.22
Seaford School District
5
39.07
59.90
Woodbridge School District
5
27.97
63.45
Sussex Average
5
39.45
56.35
State Average *
5
35.18
55.58
SCHOOL
2000
Grade
2000
Results
1998
Results
Cape Henlopen School District
10
48.62
53.86
Indian River School District
10
41.55
62.50
Laurel School District
10
29.41
42.67
Milford School District
10
70.91
64.33
Seaford School District
10
37.68
60.14
Woodbridge School District
10
17.65
15.71
Sussex Average
10
40.97
49.87
State Average *
10
48.12
54.84

* Includes Sussex County test scores


Your Opinion ...

You can voice your opinion on county issues in the Sussex County Online Forum or cast your vote on various Sussex County issues on our online poll. Just follow the links below to make your voice heard and your vote count:


Sites Not to be Missed ...

The Center for Responsive Politics has compiled Federal Election Commission data to reveal how much money 2000 federal and state political candidates have raised and what major groups the money comes from. The site is available at http://www.opensecrets.org.


Sussex Beat Index
Local News Index | News Index


Sussex
Beach
Guide

From
Beach-Net!
  • Activities
  • Bethany Cam
  • Dining
  • Events
  • Fishing
  • Lodging
  • Maps
  • Real Estate
  • Shopping
  • Surfing
  • * Beach-Net! is a service of Coastal Images Inc., Fenwick Island, Delaware.

    Sussex County Delaware
  • Home Page
  • Sussex Search
  • Sussex Shop
  • Sussex News
  • Towns
  • Government
  • Businesses
  • Schools
  • Organizations
  • Forums
  • Events
  • E-Mail

  • Sussex County News

    iSyndicate®
    Headlines
  • News
  • Business
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • U.S. Weeklies

  • Sussex County Delaware

     

    Sussex County Online Copyright © 1999-2000 Sussex County Online
    Site Design and Maintenance by Cyber Weekly Consulting