CHAPTER 181

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 182

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. I

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATIONAL RULES AND REGULATIONS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §122(b), Title 14, Delaware Code by deleting existing paragraph (17).

Section 2. Amend Chapter 1, Title 14, Delaware Code by adding a new Subchapter III to read as follows:

"Subchapter III. State Student Testing Program.

§151. State Student Testing Program; Rules and Regulations.

(a) The Department shall adopt rules and regulations consistent with the laws of this State governing the statewide assessment of student achievement and the assessment of the educational attainments of the Delaware public school system. The Secretary shall consult with the State Board and representatives of the local school districts in designing and implementing the assessment program required under this section. The assessment program shall be designed and operated to provide the General Assembly, the Governor, the Secretary, the State Board of Education, educational administrators, teachers, parents, and the public with timely and accurate information on student achievement and educational attainments.

() Beginning no later than the 1997-'98 school year, the Department shall conduct an annual assessment of student achievement for pupils in a minimum of at least 4 grade levels in the core curriculum areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics.

() Beginning no later than the 1998-'99 school year, the Department shall conduct an annual assessment of student achievement for pupils in a minimum of at least 4 grade levels in the core curriculum areas of Science and Social Studies.

(a) The assessments required pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be designed and constructed so as to provide:

(i) a valid and reliable measure of individual student performance relative to the State standards in such curriculum areas; and

(ii) a valid and reliable measure of student performance relative to students nationally.

(e) The assessments required pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be designed and constructed so as to provide a valid and reliable measure of individual student performance relative to State standards in such curriculum areas.

(f) The Secretary of Education shall annually report the results of the assessment program to the General Assembly, the Governor, and the public. Such reports shall include:

(i) an analysis of the results of each assessment activity;

(ii) recommended statewide action to address identified deficiencies;

() school and district assessment results; and

(iv) a delineation of district plans to raise the achievement levels of performance by (or to measure and demonstrate by some alternative, Department established or approved criteria, the requisite level of achievement by) students who have failed to demonstrate the established level of performance required pursuant to §152(a) and (b) of this chapter and such levels of performance as shall be established for pre-high school students by Department regulation.

(g) Guidelines for inclusion in the assessment program will be
determined by regulations.

(h) Rules and regulations pursuant to this subchapter shall be proposed
by the Secretary subject to approval by the State Board of Education."

Section 3. Amend Chapter I, Title 14, Delaware Code by adding a new section to read as follows:

"§152. State of Delaware High School Diploma Requirements.

(a) Every student before receiving a State of Delaware High School Diploma endorsed by the Department of Education of behalf of the State, shall, in addition to meeting state prescribed course requirements, also demonstrate a proficient level of performance relative to the state high school content standards on the assessments administered pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter. The Department, by regulation, shall define the level of individual performance necessary for a student to receive a State of Delaware High School Diploma. The Department, by regulation, may define a higher level of individual performance necessary for a student to receive a State of Delaware Distinguished Achievement Diploma. The requirements for a Distinguished Achievement Diploma may, in addition to the level of performance established pursuant to this section, include other criteria.

() Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall prevent the Department from establishing alternative assessments to determine whether students with disabilities who are candidates for graduation have reached the same proficient level of performance required on the assessments administered pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter by the Department for award of a State of Delaware High School Diploma. Any alternative assessments adopted by the Department shall be equally rigorous, valid, and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department's decision to approve an alternative assessment.

(c) Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall prevent an individual school district, with approval of the Department, from establishing alternative assessments to determine whether regular students who are candidates for graduation have reached the same proficient level of performance required on the assessments administered pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter by the Department for award of a State of Delaware High School Diploma. Any alternative assessments proposed by an individual district shall, prior to approval, be found by the Department to be equally rigorous, valid, and reliable as the assessments administered pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter. Approval of any alternative assessment by the Department shall require the joint approval of the Secretary and the State Board of Education, who shall issue written findings supporting the Department's decision to approve an alternative assessment. Any district that receives such approval shall provide such continuing evidence of the alternative assessment's reliability and validity as the Secretary and State Board of Education shall require to ensure compliance with this subsection.

(d) A high school student who fails to achieve a proficient level of performance on the high school assessments required by subsections (b) and (c) of §151 of this subchapter shall be required to retake such assessments at least once in each succeeding year until such student achieves the established level of performance. A student who demonstrates a proficient level of performance on an alternative assessment approved by the Department pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be exempt from this requirement.

(e) A local school district may establish a Certificate of High School Completion for issuance to a student who has successfully completed the high school graduation course credit requirements established by the State - or the District, if higher than the State - but who has failed to demonstrate the proficient level of performance established pursuant to subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this section."

Section 4. To further ensure that the General Assembly and/or the Department of Education, through action of the Secretary and the State Board pursuant to Title 14, can adopt a comprehensive system of accountability linked to student achievement, the State Student Testing Program established pursuant to §151 of this subchapter shall, to the extent practicable, be designed to enable the State and the local school districts to use such Program as a primary indicator in the decision process used to determine, at minimum, whether students should be: permitted to matriculate to the next level; required to receive extra instruction; and/or eligible for awards and scholarships for high achievement. Nothing herein should be construed to restrict the Department of Education from implementing a student assessment program capable of being used for additional purposes to those delineated herein.

Section 5. The Governor and the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the State Board of Education, shall report to the General Assembly on or before January 30, 1998 on their progress in developing a plan for a comprehensive system of accountability linked to the assessments mandated by this Act. Recognizing the importance and complexity of the issues included in this section for incorporation in the plan, the Governor and Secretary of Education may present such elements of the plan as are complete on or before January 30, 1998 and identify at such date a timetable for addressing the remaining elements. The Secretary shall also consult with educational stakeholder groups during the plan development process. To ensure progress, if the Governor and Secretary of Education are encouraged to attach to the plan the specific legislative and regulatory proposals necessary to implement the plan. Such plan shall address, but need not be limited to:

a. The role of the assessment program in determining whether students have made sufficient academic progress to matriculate to the next grade or academic level;

. The role of the assessment program in determining which students should be directed to programs providing extra instruction, mentoring, tutoring, or other additional educational assistance designed to improve the performance and knowledge of the students;

a. The procedures and/or methodologies to be used in establishing the level of performance necessary to be attained by students in order to qualify for a State of Delaware High School Diploma or other diplomas authorized in 14 Del. C. §152;

b. The procedures and/or methodologies to be used in establishing successful levels of performance for pre-high school level students on the assessments administered pursuant to 14 Del. C. §151(b) and (c);

c. The role the assessment should have in identifying Delaware students whose academic achievement merits special recognition and/or scholarship assistance;

d. The precise role the assessments required for science and social studies pursuant to 14 Del. C. §151(c) shall play in high school graduation requirements and, in particular, the costs and benefits of developing an assessment for such subjects which meets the same criteria for assessments of mathematics and English/language arts required by 14 Del C. §151(b);

g. A component to address individual and/or collective accountability for teachers and administrators. Such component should be linked to Delaware Teacher and Administrator Standards and shall address preservice education program approval, induction and initial
mentoring, certification, recertification, performance appraisal and such other issues as are deemed appropriate to support professional growth and accountability;

. Recommendations regarding financial and other incentives that can be used at the building and district level to promote student achievement;

a. Recommendations as to how data from the results of the assessments authorized by this Act should be disaggregated and reported in order to support continuous improvement among all groupings of students and to measure the progress of individuals and groups of students over time;

b. An analysis of any existing curricular, financial, technical, or administrative impediments that may adversely affect the proposed implementation of the comprehensive system;

k. The role that other assessments may play in a system of accountability; and

l. A timetable for the implementation of the comprehensive accountability system.

Nothing herein should be construed to restrict the Department of Education from developing and implementing additional components of the Delaware State Testing Program that are designed to track and support Delaware student progress against the State's content standards.

Section 6. Should Senate Bill No. 79 or House Bill No. 81 or any successor Bill which moves the paragraph in §122(b) of Title 14 dealing with the governing of the State assessment of student achievement and the assessment of the educational attainments of the Delaware public school system from (17) to another number, it is the intent of this Act that (17) not be deleted but rather that what should be deleted is whichever paragraph deals with the governing of the State assessment of student achievement and the assessment of the educational attainments of the Delaware public school system.

Section 7. The provisions of 14 Del. C. §152(a) shall not be applied to deny any student a State of Delaware High School Diploma as a result of the failure of such student to pass any of the Assessments required under the provisions of 14 Del. C. §151(b), until four years after the first administration of such Assessments. The provisions of 14 Del. C. §152(a) shall not be applied to deny any student a State of Delaware High School Diploma as a result of the failure of such student to pass any of the Assessments required under the provisions of 14 Del. C. §151 (c), until six years after the first administration of such Assessments.

Section 8. This Act shall become effective August 1, 1997.


Approved July 16, 1997