DOE Praises State Accountability Survey. Cool Your Jets DOE, It Was Only .65% Of State Population!

Delaware DOE

Today, the Delaware Department of Education Public Information Officer sent out a press release showing the results of the controversial survey the DOE conducted for their new “school accountability” program.  I wish they would show video of the Town Halls they had as well.  That would be fun to watch!  Yes, only .65% of the entire Delaware population bothered to respond.  So lets change a whole perception of schools based on that!

When will this Delaware DOE just go?  How much jacked up change will they exert on an unsuspecting populace before we all collectively throw up?  Just stop!  You’re actually embarrassing yourselves at this point.  To see the results of this groundbreaking (sarcasm noted) survey, read the gibberish below:

For immediate release

Contact Alison May (302) 735-4000


More than 6,500 parents, educators, community members and students responded to an online, voluntary survey conducted by the Delaware Department of Education between October 28 and December 31. The purpose of the survey was to gather input from the public on the design of Delaware’s new school accountability system, and it included questions about the academic characteristics of an “excellent” school, how the accountability system should be used, how school climate should be measured and how school performance should be represented as well as what the system should be called.

The response was the largest ever to a DDOE survey, showing the importance Delaware residents place on having an accountability system that accurately represents the performance of their schools and students. Parents made up about 40 percent of the respondents, teachers accounted for 20 percent, other educators 10 percent and students and community members the rest. As a group, the respondents to the survey were broadly representative of the state geographically and ethnically.

The Academic Framework Working Group, made up of a variety of representatives of school districts around the state, will consider the survey results in their recommendations.  The working group “has the opportunity to ‘get it right’ when it comes to providing clarity about what matters most for our children and our schools with regard to accountability,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said.

The new accountability system will have two parts. Part A will include data on student proficiency, year-over-year growth in student achievement, college and career readiness, chronic absenteeism, and how many students are on track to graduate—all measures required to be reported by the federal government. Part B will include other elements that Delaware residents deem important. 

“This is about providing relevant and transparent information so our families can make the school decisions best for their children,” Murphy said.

And who oversees this process Murphy?  The DOE?  Good lord, I can tell the charters will come up smelling like roses when this crap is implemented.  Sorry, had to get that in there!

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents to the survey said it is very important for the state to include students’ proficiency rates as one measure in the new school accountability system it is designing. The DDOE’s preliminary analysis of the survey results showed support for:

·      Reporting on academic measures beyond test scores such as literacy rates, graduation rates, graduates’ preparedness for postsecondary education and employment, kindergarten readiness and closing of the achievement gap, among other measures.

·      Reporting on non-academic measures such as teacher attendance, parent engagement and the results of surveys of parents, students and teachers.

·      Utilizing a letter grade rating system, such as A, B and C, as a way of quickly communicating a school’s performance.

·      Using the accountability system as a tool for continuous improvement.

Topline results are below. The department, in conjunction with the AFWG, will complete its analysis of the survey and provide full results later in the spring.

In addition to fielding the survey, the department hosted four town hall meetings to gather public comments. The working group is expected to make its recommendations later this year, and the new accountability system will be in place for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.


 2014 Delaware School Accountability Community Survey

1.     Please categorize yourself by selecting one of the options below.

40% Parent

20% Teacher

10% Other School Staff

15% Community Member

15% Other

2.     Academics – What do you think makes an excellent school?  Please indicate the importance of including the following items in an accountability report.  (1) Not Important; (2) Minimally Important; (3) Somewhat Important; and (4) Very Important:  (Choose one rating per item.)

Percentage of respondents who rated each choice “very important”

·   76.4% Graduation rate

·   64.7% Post-high school education and training

·   41.5% Comparing schools against similar schools

·   56.8% Closing the achievement gap

·   51.4% Students who graduate with an industry-recognized credential

·   52.5% Students who graduate with college-level credit

·   88.3% Student literacy

·   62.4% Kindergarten readiness

·   64.8% Dropout rate

3.     School Culture – What do you think makes an excellent school?  Please indicate the importance of including the following items in an accountability report.  (1) Not Important; (2) Minimally Important; (3) Somewhat Important; and (4) Very Important:  (Choose one rating per item.)

·   56.2% School survey (parent perspective)

·   52.4% School survey (student perspective)

·   58.1% School survey (staff perspective)

·   69% Staff attendance

·   61.4% Parent attendance at conferences

·   47.4% Number of suspension and expulsions

·   50.3% Civic engagement

·   58.5%Social-emotional learning (i.e., teaching students how to handle their feelings)


4.     How should our state report the performance of schools?  See the example illustrations below and rank your preferences from 1 to 4.


13%    Stoplight

46%   Letter Grades   

8.3%  Symbols

32.8% Performance Rating

5.     How would you use the school performance report card if it was accessible online?  Please select from the options below (check all that apply):

☒To gather information about a school so that I can find the best educational opportunity for my child. 61.9 %

☒   To get a better understanding of how my school is doing (strengths and areas of growth). 76.4%

☒   To help plan for support/professional development for the school 44.2%

☒_ Other – please specify:  _____________________________________________________________

6. What would you prefer the accountability system to be called?

·         36%     Delaware School Accountability Framework

·         55.5% Delaware School Success Framework

Here’s the deal with surveys.  If you can only choose one of the options, it is based on the objectivity of the person who submits those choices for the survey.  When you put a stop light as a way of measuring a school, of course people aren’t going to respond well to that.  It’s bright, it’s colorful, and it makes no sense.  And symbols?  Same thing.  Which leaves us with letter grades and the current “charter way” of rating effectiveness.  Less is more, so the letter grades won, which is exactly what the DOE wanted.  They gave two choices for the name.  Both of them are horrible.  I have a great accountability system name.  Wait for it…drumroll please… It’s called DOE Accountability System.  Cause they have run around the state unchecked for years now, ticking off students, teachers, parents, and now even legislators!


17 thoughts on “DOE Praises State Accountability Survey. Cool Your Jets DOE, It Was Only .65% Of State Population!

  1. Ok just re-read the survey… That was it? And all this means ….what … exactly to our kids?

    Even more after the re-read, it seems to be a sham survey in search of a headline.


  2. Your complaint that the sample size of their survey equates to “only .65%” of Delaware’s population is irrelevant. Surveys rarely account for a large percentage of a group – especially one with as large of a population size as Delaware’s. In fact, surveys begin to be statistically significant with as few as 30 people included within the sample, regardless of how many people are in the population.

    Making a few quick assumptions about the degree of confidence that they were interested in having for the data (95% confidence, .5 standard deviation) would lead me to believe that they actually only needed 385 participants in the survey in order to meet their needs. This is a pretty commonly accepted metric.

    Instead of raising questions about sample size, you should instead focus on their methodology for gaining participants, the quality of the survey questions, the purpose of the survey, etc.

    When looking at this survey (and I happened to have taken the paper version), the questions are written out relatively well with an appropriate range of choices for them. The questions are not written with a particular bias in one direction or another. While the questions that you seem to take issue with are not particularly useful, the others are actually quite fair and are the ones that would be used to drive future content creation. They are reasonable questions to ask.


    1. As one of the first bloggers to get this out to the general populace, I know for a fact that MANY found this survey to be absolutely ludicrous as many people took it that very same day. This was a theater prop, issued by the DOE, to give them a clear path to a desired result. This slight of hand seems to be quite good as even you were fooled by the true agenda behind this.


      1. My point was more focused on the actual number of participants. You can’t really complain about that. For example, this statement:

        “Yes, only .65% of the entire Delaware population bothered to respond. So lets change a whole perception of schools based on that!”

        That’s problematic. You’re implying that the DOE needed to collect more surveys, when that wouldn’t have actually improved the validity of their results. It is, statistically, quite reasonable to draw conclusions about a population given a sample of that size. You’re creating an issue that doesn’t actually exist. Questioning data is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but your commentary on sample size both lacks meaning and is needlessly inflammatory. You basically wrote click-bait.


        1. I think when it comes to this Department of Education, any changes should go through the legislators and/or part of elections so the people can decide, not the corporate education reformers that have invaded the entire education landscape. I’m not sure how much you know about the current education landscape in the 1st state, but if you don’t know the WHOLE picture, I doubt you would understand the crux of my issues here.


          1. I’m a former Delaware teacher. I pay a lot of attention to education in Delaware. I know quite a bit about the current education landscape.

            I can appreciate your viewpoint regarding legislators/elections. There is a time and a place for that. Gathering data is not the time or place for it.


          2. And yet that’s all the DOE seems to like doing. They gather data all day long and use that data for their own purposes, which is to promote the corporate education reform as handed down by the US DOE and the big corporate figures. If you know about this landscape and what the DOE has done to it, how can you actually defend their own self-serving survey?


          3. In response to your question of “how can you actually defend their own self-serving survey?” (sorry, it seems as if I can’t directly reply to that comment – strange).

            I have no problem with criticizing the DOE. I often do. By no means do I believe that the DOE is a perfect organization – far from it. However, saying that they are “embarrassing” themselves for collecting a statistically significant sample size in comparison to the population is inflammatory. This is an instance where they did the right thing.

            I’ve read most of your blog (and all of the other major DE education blogs) for the past few months. You have a particular viewpoint and gather evidence to defend it. That’s great. I wish more people did that. With that being said, your viewpoint has made you vitriolic (or at least that is how you portray yourself via your writing). You choose to assume the worst of the DOE’s actions because that largely supports your viewpoint.

            As such, your opinion on this specific issue is out of touch. You are portraying something that is quite neutral – getting an appropriately sized sample for a survey – as being an assault on education. It is not.


          4. Really, you have your views and I have mine. The reason I think the worst of the DOE’s actions is because when everything comes out in the wash, it doesn’t really benefit anyone except for themselves. I truly wish I could write about some good things the DOE does, but it is very hard to do that when I don’t see much light coming out of that building. I apologize if this offends you in some way, but I stand by my actions. And I am NOT the only one that feels this way. Granted, I’m a newer blogger on the scene compared to the rest, but I have never heard any of us praise the DOE. If I thought this survey was good, I would let them know. If I thought what they were doing in education was good, I would let them know. But there are forces much larger than the DOE at play here, they are just the catalyst to move those pieces into play. I will assuredly be delving into how this has taken place in great detail. Someone needs to pull the wool over the citizens of Delaware’s eyes, and that’s what I do. I appreciate you read my blog, but please don’t disparage the way I write it. If I can’t stand the DOE, I have my reasons and I will share them with my readers.


    2. 385 or even 650 out of a million people in a state like Delaware should NOT be a measure for very large education changes! This is the problem with the DOE. They can say they got public input on this system and do whatever the hell they want anyways.


  3. Kevin, what I find fascinating is that the entire rating system the state Department of Education is proposing is based on a test (DCAS) where the standard deviation in the score is greater than the points required to move between levels. That is, if a student were to move from PL 1b to 1a, which would have had the effect of showing improvement under that system, it might take 18 points on the test. However, there is a standard deviation of 25 points. That, to me, says that no matter what the statistics are, they can always be bent in favor of one group or another. I guess we don’t know what the “Smarter” assessment score deviation could possibly be…

    A wise man once said, “Facts are meaningless. They can be used to prove anything that’s even remotely true.”

    You can take that to the bank, my friend. As for me, I don’t care if 6, 6 thousand, or 6 MILLION folks took that survey; it was biased towards results for an assessment program that never asked whether Delawareans want an assessment program in the first place. Operating under the assumption that all people want schools to be rated and graded (because that worked so well for Bennett in Indiana and is doing a bang-up job in New Orleans, an all-charter district I might add) is slanting the basic concept of the survey in favor of the results the surveyor wants. There is no statistician in the world who would accept such results as indicative of what the survey participants actually want, since there was no way to actually express what we actually wanted. Actually 😉

    Perhaps condescension and derision are mistaken for vitriol these days. As for me, I’m thankful to have an advocate saying the things many educators are afraid to, and I’m grateful for your unending support.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although surveys do only take a small number relevant to the population at large, when a survey goes against common sense and against standard judgment as for example, a straw man survey stating that 88% of people wish Rehoboth allowed TOTAL NUDITY!!!, it is wise to point out just how small a pool was used to determine that result. That is what was done here.

    The DOE is going against common sense and is on the wrong track to help kids learn. We are not the first state to follow this path, and those who went before, failed as spectacularly we are soon deemed to fail.

    That said, (and I believe the critic actually mentioned it above), what becomes important is the determination of who that small pool was. Did they only interview members of Nudity Anonymous? Or AARP (dorks)? Were families with children completely left out? Were parents concerned over raising the children, not given a chance to voice their concerns primarily being that if ordering a hot dog in a bun for their child at Grotto’s off Rehoboth Ave, that might not be the only hot dog their child will see? Maybe a couple of vienna sausages might show up and stand next at their child’s eye level while waiting for their table to be called?

    So although the critic may have a case to argue based on numbers, when one looks at the history of DOE’s surveys since Mark Murphy began the Rodel led takedown of public schools, the above blogger had a public duty to counter its press claim with factual evidence of his own: the tiny size of the survey.

    Meaning that although both of you are correct in your statements, his take overrules yours, based on great moral implications…

    Liked by 1 person

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