Vermont math and English scores fall

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Vermont math and English scores fall

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 10:00am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont saw its scores in standardized testing decline slightly this past year after an increase a year ago. Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe today announced statewide results from the 2016-17 Smarter Balanced Assessments, a set of computer adaptive tests for English Language Arts and Mathematics developed by a national consortium currently made up of 15 states, the US Virgin Islands, and the Bureau of Indian Education. This was the third year Vermont students, statewide, participated in the Smarter Balanced program. Several other consortium member states also reported lower results for this past year. In Vermont, scores were lower in all categories for all age groups except for Grade 11 English.

These tests, which were administered this spring to students in grades three through eight and grade 11, were designed to assess student mastery of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. These standards are deliberately ambitious, to ensure we have high expectations for our students. Over time, the results will provide community members, teachers and parents with an increasingly reliable and accurate snapshot of children’s mastery of these standards as well as the progress of our schools at improving the performance of our students relative to these standards.

“The relationship between strong academic skills and financial security and wellbeing is stronger than it has ever been, regardless of whether our students are headed to careers or college when they graduate. Tests don’t measure everything that matters to a happy and successful life, including our ability to participate in democratic life,  but there is no path to prosperity for students who don’t master reading, writing and mathematics,” said Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe. “We were disappointed to see those score declines. The achievement gaps between our vulnerable youth and students with greater privilege remain, and in some cases were narrowed, but this was largely a result of score declines for more privileged groups. As we work to implement more personalized learning and flexible pathways, we need to make sure we continue to challenge and engage all our students, while providing the extra support our more vulnerable children need to thrive. And, we need to support our schools and teachers as they figure out how to support better learning outcomes.”

Demographic results show that White and Asian students did better than other ethnic groups and girls did better than boys. Those students in the FRL (Free or Reduced Lunch, which is an indicator of income) and those in ELL (English Language Learners) and in Special Education had lower scores.

This is the first year scores will be used to calculate the growth measures (to show change in performance from the preceding year) in Vermont’s state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Federal dollars are used to provide extra support for students for whom those dollars will make the greatest difference. When all students have higher levels of mastery, we all benefit from that greater productivity, Deputy Secretary Amy Fowler said.

“We can’t know for sure why scores declined, but several factors could contribute,” Fowler said. “It could be in the last year people were focused on issues other than assessment. It could be as people are moving to implement the Education Quality Standards and other initiatives, attention has been diverted from improving learning, or any other number of factors.”

Vermont’s 2017 statewide results:

2017 Smarter Balanced Math Results

Total Proficient and Above

Scale Score

2017 Smarter Balanced English Language Arts Results

Total Proficient and Above

Scale Score

Proficient Score

State Average

Proficient Score

State Average

Grade 3

52%

2436

2438

Grade 3

49%

2432

2425

Grade 4

47%

2485

2476

Grade 4

49%

2473

2466

Grade 5

42%

2528

2505

Grade 5

55%

2502

2508

Grade 6

39%

2552

2519

Grade 6

52%

2531

2531

Grade 7

44%

2567

2541

Grade 7

55%

2552

2555

Grade 8

41%

2586

2555

Grade 8

55%

2567

2570

Grade 11

37%

2628

2576

Grade 11

59%

2583

2599

Vermont’s 2016 statewide results:

2016 Smarter Balanced Math Results

Total Proficient  and Above

Scale Score

2016 Smarter Balanced English Language Arts Results

Total Proficient and Above

Scale Score

Proficient Score

State Average

Proficient Score

State Average

Grade 3

55.84%

2436

2442

Grade 3

53.84%

2432

2438

Grade 4

49.89%

2485

2482

Grade 4

53.76%

2473

2477

Grade 5

43.31%

2528

2509

Grade 5

58.16%

2502

2515

Grade 6

40.94%

2552

2522

Grade 6

56.20%

2531

2539

Grade 7

46.04%

2567

2548

Grade 7

57.57%

2552

2562

Grade 8

43.87%

2586

2564

Grade 8

58.52%

2567

2580

Grade 11

37.76%

2628

2581

Grade 11

57.22%

2583

2598

The Smarter Balanced Assessments, which challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills in areas such as critical thinking, analytical writing and problem solving, are computer adaptive tests, administered online. Computer adaptive tests adjust the difficulty of the test question based on how a test taker responds to each successive question. If a student answers incorrectly, for example, the computer delivers a slightly easier question. If the student answers correctly, the next question is a bit harder. This process continues until the best possible prediction of a student’s ability is determined. This means very few children take a test that feels too hard or too easy. It also means the test can provide a more precise measure of what students can and cannot do.

Individual school data is available on the AOE website.

Expanded 2017 Results

 

 

 

Race/Ethnicity

Gender

Other Characteristics

Subject

Grade

 

All Students

American Indian or Alaskan Native

Asian

Black

Hispanic

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

White

Female

Male

FRL

Migrant

ELL

Special Ed

Percent Proficient and Above

English Language Arts

3

49%

30%

50%

36%

42%

47%

50%

53%

46%

35%

 

32%

12%

4

49%

37%

61%

32%

44%

76%

50%

54%

45%

35%

 

10%

10%

5

55%

33%

65%

36%

48%

69%

56%

62%

49%

37%

 

13%

13%

6

52%

44%

57%

30%

51%

53%

53%

60%

45%

37%

 

5%

11%

7

55%

46%

65%

37%

54%

63%

56%

62%

49%

39%

 

8%

56%

8

55%

40%

65%

36%

45%

57%

55%

64%

46%

39%

 

10%

9%

11

59%

43%

57%

35%

57%

69%

60%

65%

52%

40%

 

1%

11%

Math

3

52%

35%

54%

41%

45%

47%

53%

52%

53%

37%

 

38%

15%

4

47%

37%

53%

25%

38%

62%

48%

46%

48%

32%

 

16%

13%

5

42%

21%

57%

27%

40%

69%

43%

41%

44%

26%

 

6%

8%

6

39%

33%

50%

19%

32%

41%

39%

41%

38%

26%

 

11%

6%

7

44%

30%

57%

22%

41%

63%

44%

43%

44%

29%

 

5%

5%

8

41%

29%

50%

18%

38%

43%

42%

45%

38%

26%

 

12%

12%

11

37%

20%

44%

17%

40%

46%

37%

38%

35%

17%

 

1%

2%

Scale Score

English Language Arts

3

2425

2389

2427

2397

2418

2421

2426

2434

2418

2397

 

2390

2344

4

2466

2446

2482

2427

2456

2504

2467

2478

2455

2434

 

2375

2368

5

258

2469

2531

2473

2495

2531

2539

2523

2494

2469

 

2401

2404

6

2531

2514

2540

2484

2529

2563

2533

2549

2515

2500

 

2396

2433

7

2555

2531

2573

2511

2569

2576

2556

2572

2538

2518

 

2428

2441

8

2570

2545

2595

2524

2553

2585

2571

2593

2548

2533

 

2452

2453

11

2599

2552

2603

2535

2604

2641

2602

2621

2579

2546

 

2423

2463

Math

3

2437

2403

2439

2408

2425

2428

2438

2436

2438

2410

 

2411

2357

4

2476

2460

2489

2432

2456

2489

2477

2474

2477

2448

 

2405

2391

5

2505

2461

2529

2464

2492

2538

2506

2502

2507

2470

 

2409

2417

6

2519

2496

2541

2461

2509

2516

2520

2524

2513

2485

 

2394

2415

7

2541

2517

2575

2490

2541

2563

2543

2545

2538

2504

 

2406

2419

8

2555

2527

2588

2489

2538

2577

2556

2566

2544

2512

 

2424

2425

11

2576

2522

2595

2498

2585

2608

2579

2582

2569

2512

 

2404

2420

Source: Vermont Agency of Education Web Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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