IRSD Students Test High For Proficiency In English, Math


Scores from the 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment, released by the Delaware Department of Education on July 21, revealed that the percentages of Indian River School District students who were proficient in English language arts (ELA) and math were higher than the overall state averages.

The percentage of IRSD students meeting or exceeding performance standards surpassed the state average in all content areas. In some instances, IRSD topped the state average by double-digit percentage points. The tests were administered to students in Grades 3-8.

The district’s best showing was in ELA, where 69 percent of fifth-graders and 65 percent of eighth-graders scored at proficiency levels 3 or 4. This exceeded the state average by 9 percentage points in Grade 5 and 11 points in Grade 8. Additionally, 63 percent of sixth-graders and 61 percent of seventh-graders achieved proficiency, exceeding the state average by 11 and 8 percentage points respectively. Overall, the district’s ELA proficiency rates in Grades 3-8 ranged from 56 percent to 69 percent, exceeding the state average at every grade level. The only area in which the district did not surpass 60-percent mark was in third grade (56 percent).

Math scores were not as strong, but Indian River still exceeded state averages in Grades 3-8. The district’s best performance was in third grade, where 61 percent of students met or exceeded the standards. The remaining proficiency rates ranged from 40 to 57 percent in Grades 4-8. In Grade 5 math, 54 percent of district students met the standards compared to only 41 percent statewide.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is part of the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA), which replaced the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) in 2015. The 2016 results are the second for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is aligned with Delaware’s new and more rigorous academic standards. By focusing on the skills most important for success in college and the workplace, the results provide teachers and families with a snapshot of the child’s progress, helping identify school and student strengths as well as areas in which support is needed.

“While we are pleased to be ahead of the curve in relation to the overall state averages, our 2016 proficiency levels still leave much room for improvement,” IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting said. “With the exception of a few content areas, our performance levels compared to 2015 showed only minimal increases or decreases. We also have concerns about middle school math scores, which revealed that less than half of our students met the performance standards. These results are not unexpected, however, as students and teachers are still adjusting to the increased rigor of the new Smarter Balanced assessment.

“We are continuing to provide training and support to teachers as they strengthen standards-linked instruction. The results of these efforts are already evident in our fifth-grade math and sixth- and eighth-grade ELA scores, which showed significant improvement from 2015. Indian River is fortunate to have some of the most gifted educators in the State of Delaware. Thus, I am confident that our future scores will continue to exceed state averages and that the percentage of students meeting performance standards will also continue to increase. We will never lose sight of our ultimate goal of having every student achieve the performance standard in every content area.”

IRSD and state scores for 2016 are as follows:

English Language Arts

Percentage Proficient on the Standards

Grade  IRSD  State

3         56         54

4         60         56

5         69         60

6         63         52

7         61         53

8         65         54



Percentage Proficient on the Standards

Grade  IRSD    State

3         61         55

4         57         51

5         54         41

6         43         37

7         44         40

8         40         38


The Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) continues to be utilized for science assessments in Grades 5, 8 and 10 and for social studies assessments in Grades 4 and 7. In 2016, IRSD exceeded the state average at all grades in science and social studies. Its best showing was in seventh-grade social studies, where 72 percent of students met or exceeded the standards.

Science and social studies scores are as follows:


Percentage Proficient on the Standards

Grade IRSD  State

5          52      47

8          58      49

10        46      43


Social Studies

Percentage Proficient on the Standards

Grade IRSD  State

4         60      59

7         72       57

Parents can view state, district and school DeSSA results on the Delaware Department of Education website: