Sussex County Delaware
Laurel Students Below
Targets in Writing, Math
Sussex Beat, July 22, 2002

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a log of news briefs and commentary by Kerin Magill, editor of Sussex County Online, with contributions from Sussex County Online users.


Kerin Magill, Sussex County Online

SC Online

Laurel Students Miss Targets ...

While some grades made good strides in certain subjects, Laurel School District students in general fell short of state benchmarks in reading, writing and mathematics in the Delaware Student Testing Program in Spring 2002.

Reading scores in Laurel have improved across the board since the DSTP was first instituted in 1998. But in writing, some grade levels showed dramatic decreases in scores in 2002.

In math, meanwhile, two-thirds of all eighth graders and three-quarters of all 10th graders still fall below state standards.

Compared to other students state-wide, the best Laurel students could manage were ranking of 27th out of 57 schools in fifth grade Math and Reading.

Laurel 10th graders were last in the state in Math and Reading and next to last in Writing.

Following is a look at Laurel's performances in the Spring 2002 tests:

  • 3rd Graders -- In 2002, the percentage of Laurel 3rd graders meeting the Reading standard fell nearly 7 percent, as only 68.46 percent of third graders met the standards in 2002 compared to 75.47 percent in 2001 and 75.45 percent in 2000.

  • 5th graders -- Laurel fifth graders have made great strides in Reading since 2001, with the number of students meeting the state standards increasing from 62 percent to 83 percent. In 1998, more than half of students failed to meet state standards.

  • 8th Graders -- Eighth grade reading scores have also shown improvement, with the number of students meeting the standards rising to 78 percent in 2002 compared to 53 percent in 1998.

  • 10th Graders -- Tenth graders showed improvement, as well, although not as much as the earlier grades. Tenth grade reading scores have been up and down since 1998, with 50.81 percent of 10th graders meeting the standards this year. Last year, only 43.64 percent met the standards.
  • 3rd Graders -- Third graders fell a bit in Math compared to their 2001 counterparts as 65 percent met the standards in 2002 compared to 68 percent in 2001. Both scores are down from the 72 percent who met the standards in 2000.

  • 5th graders -- Fifth graders posted their best performance in Math in the five years of testing as 66.88 percent met the Math standards. That's up more than 14 percent from the 52.17 percent who met the standard a year ago.

  • 8th Graders -- Eighth graders posted disappointing results this year as only 31.55 percent met the standards, down from 44.97 percent last year. Last year's effort was the best in the five years of testing.

  • 10th Graders -- Math continues to be a trouble spot for Laurel 10th graders but the 25.81 percent of students who met the standard this year is a considerable improvement over the 7.69 percent who met the standards in 2000.
  • 3rd Graders -- Writing continues to be the most disappointing area for Laurel's third graders. In 2002, only 25 percent met the standards, compared to 53.85 percent who did so in 1998. On the positive side, the 25 percent figure does represent a nearly 8 percent increase over the 17.24 percent figure of 2001.

  • 5th graders -- Fifth graders are faring better, but are still struggling to put more than half of their students into the positive category. In Spring 2002, 45.63 percent of Laurel fifth graders met the Writing standards -- the grade's best performance to date.

  • 8th Graders -- Eighth graders dropped 5 percent off last year's percentage who met the Writing standards, but the 68.45 percent who met the standards still represents a dramatic increase over the 1998-2000 scores, the highest of which was 42.68 percent in 1998.

  • 10th Graders -- Like Math, Writing has presented problems for Laurel 10th graders, as only 30.71 percent met the standards in 2002, down from 40.0 percent in 2001. Prior to 2001, no more than 29 percent of 10th graders had managed to meet the standards.

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