Some Delaware schools are in the single digits of proficiency rates in the state-administered tests.

17 Del. schools show less than 10% proficiency on state tests

Jarek RutzEducation, Headlines

Some Delaware schools are in the single digits of proficiency rates in the state-administered tests.

Some Delaware schools are in the single digits of proficiency rates in the state-administered tests.

Seventeen Delaware schools had single-digit proficiency rates in math, reading or the SAT on  state-administered tests.

More than 200 public schools take part in the Smarter Balanced test, which measures the knowledge of students in grades three through eight in math and reading, and the SAT for all juniors in high school.

Ten of those grammar and middle schools had less than 10% of their students score as proficient on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Another seven had single-digit proficiency in the SAT, which once stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test, but now just goes by its initials. 

Delaware is one of eight states that give  the SATs to all 11th graders, which lowers the state’s scores. In most states, it is usually taken only by students headed to college.

If a student is not proficient, that means they do not meet grade-level expectations and standards in a given subject, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot read, write or do math.

“While we want to see all schools at or above the state average for proficiency, we need to remember that these scores are just one data point,” said Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. “Students and schools are much more than one test score, which is why our Delaware report cards have multiple measures for schools.”

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However, Massett said, it is encouraging to see a decrease in the number of schools with single digit proficiency over the last few years. 

Last year, 10 schools had single-digit proficiency scores for SAT, and 16 for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Here are the single-digit schools for 2023:

Smarter Balanced — 10 total


The Bancroft School: 6.43% ELA, 3.55% math

The Bayard School: 6.91% ELA, 5.17% math


New Castle Elementary School: 6.39% math

McCullough (Calvin R. ) Middle School: 5.44% math

Red Clay

Johnson (Joseph E. Jr) Elementary School: 9.86% math

Richardson Park Elementary School: 7.25% ELA, 8.79% math

Warner Elementary School: 7.52% math

Stanton Middle School: 6.9% math


Edison (Thomas A.) Charter School: 5.39% math

Gateway Charter School: 5.92% math

SAT — 7 total


Glasgow High School: 9.45% essay, 4.86% math


Laurel Senior High School: 9.79% math

New Castle County Vo-Tech

Howard High School of Technology: 2.53% math

Hodgson (Paul M.) Vocational Technical High School: 8.76% math

Delcastle Technical High School: 9.45% math

Red Clay

McKean (Thomas) High School: 3.91% math


Seaford Senior High School: 8.96% math

“For both charter schools on the single-digit proficiency list from this past school year, a quick look at the trend data over prior years shows that they are decreasing the number of students considered well below proficiency on the Smarter Balanced Assessment,” Massett pointed out.

“Both schools provide incredible opportunities to meet the various needs of their students, and as they continue to support the whole child, we are confident that we will continue to see growth and improvement for all students.”

Minority students, students of low-income households, students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities and English language learners typically underperform.

Those specific subgroups were among those in single digit proficiency in schools all over Delaware.

While the Department of Education has launched programs to improve math and reading scores, largely by going back to the basics and dwelling on them longer, both programs are too new to have had much impact this year, education officials have said.

“The state’s release of the 2023 test scores provides the public with a valuable opportunity to dig and analyze trends and make informed decisions about where to focus first,” said Julia Keleher, new executive director of First State Educate. “The students, teachers and administrators in these schools deserve our attention and support.”

Current proficiency levels signal the need to do things differently, she said, and look for new solutions.

“Ensuring a Delaware education prepares all students for a successful, fulfilling life requires collective action,” she said, “and FSE looks forward to contributing to innovative approaches to supporting teachers and improving student outcomes.”

All data is from the Department of Education, which released this year’s test scores last Tuesday.

The public can navigate through school-level and district-level data, as well as most data filtered by race and gender, in the Delaware Open Data Portal under “Education.”

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