Delaware – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of Delaware’s final plan, approved by the US ED on August 1, 2017 and modified on September 1, 2017.

State Highlights: Expectations College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Delaware included the following college- and career-readiness expectation in its plan.

  1. School performance indicator: ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Delaware’s indicator of school quality or student success for high schools measures the percentage of students achieving the following college- and career-readiness milestones.
    • Remaining on track to graduate by earning enough course credits by the end of ninth grade.
    • Being ready for college or careers, by accomplishing any of the following milestones.
      • Scoring 3 or higher on the AP exam; scoring 4 or higher on the IB exam; or scoring proficient on the SAT essay
      • Scoring 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, AFQT, also known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB
      • Attaining state-approved industry credential
      • Attaining postsecondary credit (with a “B” course letter grade or higher)
      • Completing state-approved co-operative education or work-based learning extension
      • Attaining Delaware certificate of multi-literacy in one or more world languages

Read about this expectation below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rates and English language proficiency for English learners.

Delaware established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2030, 76 percent of students will be proficient on Delaware’s English language arts assessment and 70 percent will be proficient on the math assessment.
  • By 2030, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – not reaching proficiency on annual state assessments will decline by 50 percent.

Graduation rate

  • By 2030, 92 percent of students will graduate from high school in four years.
  • By 2030, the percentage of students not graduating will decline by 50 percent.

English language proficiency

  • By 2030, 77 percent of English learners will meet English language proficiency annual growth targets, and
  • On average statewide students will meet 98 percent of their annual growth targets.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators that states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Delaware established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success:

  • Engagement – rates of chronic absenteeism
  • Proficiency on state science and social studies assessments – Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System and end-of-course tests

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – Smarter Balanced

Other academic indicator: Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – Smarter Balanced. Four growth calculations will be made: criterion-referenced, growth-to-target index, growth towards proficiency, and growth of both the lowest-performing and highest-performing quartiles of students.

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – SAT exam
  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – PSAT and SAT exams. Four growth calculations will be made: criterion-referenced, growth-to-target index, growth towards proficiency, and growth of both the lowest-performing and highest-performing quartiles of students.

Graduation rate 

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Six-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success: students meeting the following college- and career-readiness milestones.

  • Remaining on track to graduate by earning enough course credits by the end of ninth grade.
  • Achieving readiness for college and/or careers, by accomplishing any of the following milestones.
    • Scoring 3 or higher on the AP exam; scoring 4 or higher on the IB exam; or scoring proficient on the SAT essay
    • Scoring 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, AFQT, also known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB
    • Attaining state-approved industry credential
    • Attaining postsecondary credit (with a “B” course letter grade or higher)
    • Completing state-approved co-operative education or work-based learning extension
    • Attaining Delaware certificate of multi-literacy in one or more world languages

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Delaware established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in Delaware

On an annual basis, schools will receive a numeric score for each indicator. Schools will also receive one overall summative index score based on an index of the combined indicator scores. The summative index score will describe school status narratively. Rating descriptions may include, for example, exceeds expectations, meets expectations or meets few expectations.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Delaware

Weights assigned to each indicator in Delaware - Elementary and Middle Grades (40% Other Academic Indicator / 30% Academic Achievement / 20% School Quality or Student Success / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress) and High Schools (40% Academic Achievement / 35% School Quality or Student Success / 15% Graduation Rate / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress)

Student subgroups in Delaware

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, Delaware will focus on 10 student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander students, multi-racial students, and white students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 15 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Delaware established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of these criteria: 

    • CSI schools:
      • Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide based on overall summative accountability score
      • Title I schools with a “chronically low-performing” student subgroup that has performed as poorly as all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools statewide and has not sufficiently improved after implementation of a TSI plan after three years
    • CSI high schools: Any school with less than a 67 percent graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Schools that do not exit TSI status after three years
    • CSI-Reidentified (CSI-R): Schools that do not exit CSI status after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

    • Formula and competitive funding
    • Technical assistance
    • Professional learning
    • Collaborative networking sessions with other schools
    • Guidance documents
    • Tools and templates for root cause analysis, needs assessment, and intervention planning
    • Resource repository with regionally-implemented, evidence-based strategies
    • Support in identifying evidence-based resources
    • Assistance in developing plans and grant applications, and in monitoring plans and funds
    • Assistance in exploring ways to support social-emotional learning, school climate, class size reduction and wraparound services

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After three years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer meeting the CSI identification criteria
      • Meeting individual school performance targets, developed in collaboration with local education agencies, or meeting state measures of interim progress  
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools, identified every three years beginning in 2018-19: Any school with a “low-performing” student subgroup that is performing at or below all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools statewide
        • Additional TSI schools, identified annually beginning in 2019-20: Any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that is performing at or below all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools statewide for two consecutive years, and is not already identified as CSI or TSI

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by:

          • Providing planning grants when available
          • Providing tools and templates for needs assessment and intervention planning
          • Identifying evidence-based resources and strategies
          • Assisting with development of improvement plans and grant applications
          • Monitoring finances and improvement plan progress
          • Providing technical assistance

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After three years, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • Meeting individual school performance targets, developed in collaboration with local education agencies over three years or meeting state measures of interim progress within three years
            Other categories of schools

            Other schools

              All schools not identified as CSI or TSI. This designation, and the state interventions that accompany it, are to be determined through ongoing stakeholder consultation.

              This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.