Wicomico Schools See Increase In State Test Scores

SALISBURY – A review of student performance data highlighted this week’s school board meeting.

On Tuesday, Chief Academic Officer Rick Briggs presented the Wicomico County Board of Education with an update on student performance. As the school system continues to work its way through the pandemic and the impacts it’s had on education, officials this week reported slight improvements in 2022 testing data.

“I think we’re happy with some of the small wins that we’re seeing,” Briggs told board members this week. “However, we are by no means satisfied with where we are … We’re going to keep working at it.”

In a presentation this week, officials noted student performance was measured by testing scores on fall diagnostic exams. While the school system noticed declines in student achievement coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials reported some successes in the most recent fall testing. In the English Language Arts assessment, for example, students demonstrated a 2.5% increase in readiness for grade level instruction.

“We actually had seven grade levels that showed an increase in performance from the fall of 2021 to the fall of 2022 and the percentage of grade 2 students demonstrating readiness for grade-level instruction increased by 11.5%,” Instructional Supervisor Karen Hitch added. “That is the highest increase we have seen from last year.”

Hitch also highlighted performance data for individual grade levels.

“The combined percentage of students ready for grade level instruction in grades 1-5 actually increased 4.1% for all students …,” she said. “Grade 1 also had the highest percentage of students ready for grade-level instruction at 85.9%, and I think that’s attributed to the instruction that’s occurring in our kindergarten program across the system.”

In the math assessment, performance data showed 46.4% of all students in grades 1-12 were at or above grade level expectations.

“Elementary is really where we’re making the most gains from last year,” said Instructional Data Analyst Thomas Ferretti. “We’re up 4.7% in students that have scored average and above. Our highest increase is actually in grade 3, where we increased by 7.4%, and grade 1 has our actual highest achievement scoring 58.2% of students at average or above.”

Briggs told board members this week the school system’s instructional team has been dedicated to helping students reach their goals through programs and lesson plans, and that the data was simply used to track performance.

“What is shared tonight is district wide, to give you a snapshot …,” he said. “We’re not assessing kids just to assess kids. We’re getting meaningful information to then drive our instruction and help each one of those kids.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.