Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA)

In 2015-16, Delaware will continue to administer a variety of assessments within the statewide standardized testing program, collectively referred to as the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA)DeSSA 2015-16 will include Smarter for Reading & Math, DCAS for Science & Social Studies, and DCAS Alt1 (covering all content) for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Assessments within DeSSA include:
  • Smarter Assessments, which are aligned with the Delaware Content Standards in Reading and Math, will be administered for students in grades 3-8 in a computer-based format, and will provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills like critical thinking and problem solving. 
  • Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS), which are aligned to the Delaware Content Standards in Science and Social Studies, will be administered for students in grades 5, 8, & 10 in Science and grades 4, 7 & 11 (US History End of Course (EOC)) in Social Studies in a computer-based format, and will provide information on student strengths and weaknesses in content-specific knowledge and skills.
  • DCAS Alt1, which is based on alternate achievement standards, will be administered for approximately 1% of all students who would otherwise be assessed by Smarter or DCAS assessments.  Students who participate in the DCAS Alt1 are working on the same academic standards as their peers; however, they are working on these standards in less complex ways.   
  • SAT, which will measure students' College & Career Readiness, in Reading and Math for grade 11. 
Results from the assessments within DeSSA are designed to:
  • Help schools and districts determine whether students are making progress on meeting standards;
  • Provide useful information to teachers to help identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses so they can focus their instruction to meet the specific needs of their students;
  • Provide useful information to parents regarding the strengths, weaknesses, and instructional needs of their children;
  • Serve as a primary indicator in the statewide accountability system.
The following grades/subjects are required to test during the 2015-16 school year:

Grade(s) Subject(s) Assessment Windows for Test Administration
3-8 Reading & Math Smarter 3rd -8th:   March 9 – June 2
11th:        April 13 – June 2
5, 8, 10 Science DCAS March 2 – April 8
4, 7 Social Studies DCAS March 2 – April 8
High School Social Studies DCAS EOC April 4 – May 6
3-11 Reading & Math
(Science & Social Studies in applicable grades)
DCAS Alt1 March 9 – June 2
10 College Readiness PSAT October 14
11 College Readiness SAT April 12

* Additionally, Training and Practice Tests will be available year round.  See the 2015-16 DeSSA Calendar link on the left for additional detail.
Questions or concerns about assessment in Capital School District?  Please reach out to your child's building principal or contact the District Assessment Specialist, LaWanda Burgoyne, at 302-857-4224 or

The Capital School District is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), national origin, citizenship or ancestry, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity, against victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, or stalking, or upon any other categories protected by federal, state, or local law.  Inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies should be directed to the Title IX, District 504 and ADA Coordinators:  Capital School District, 198 Commerce Way, Dover DE 19904.  Phone (302) 672-1500