The Public High School Special: A Real Education
With millions in federal funds given to Delaware based on its potential to improve public schools, there’s a lot on the line. Is this another case of the government throwing money at a problem? Here’s a look at the schools’ performance now, and a survey of how they intend to reform education. Plus, find out how your school rates in our High School Ranking chart.
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Click here to download the High School Ranking - The following chart ranks schools from best to worst based on the number of AP courses offered, student-teacher ratios, graduation rates, dropout rates and academic performance. Each category is ranked individually, then totaled for an overall school score. Academic performance is based on combined DSTP scores because they were, until this year, the state standard for all students. SAT scores are included in the chart, but they are not factored into the ranking because they are not mandatory. Cost-per-student is also provided as a point of information. It is not included in a school's overall performance.
Education reform is the stuff of recent headlines, editorials and, in some cases, advertisements by groups lobbying for change. Keeping track of the legislation and initiatives is hard enough for administrators, let alone parents.
Most parents know about No Child Left Behind, which supports standards-based education reform in schools that receive federal funding. What they may not realize is that No Child is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
No Child enhanced teacher accountability, which is why most parents equate it with the state’s basic skills test, which measures student performance against state-created standards. Here’s the rub: This school year, the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System has replaced the Delaware Student Testing Program.
With the DSTP, a paper-and-pencil test given in March, educators waited at least a month for results. “You could not make adjustments during the school year, but it was helpful in looking for patterns of achievement,” says Anne Lambert, principal of Concord High School.
DCAS, taken on the computer, is given three times a year, allowing for a more immediate response to the scores. Another difference: the performance levels. The DSTP had five. The new test has four, which are based on higher student proficiency standards. Parents may notice this year that their school skews lower than it did with the DSTP, and that may put the school in a different category, perhaps slipping from Academic Progress, for instance, to Academic Watch.
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