October 10, 2018
The Vermont Agency of Education announced results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Program. These assessments are administered annually in the spring to students in grades three through nine. They are designed to measure students' mastery of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
"It's good to see that Vermont students continue to perform well on the Smarter Balanced tests," said Vermont Secretary of Education Dan French. "We are coming to the end of the No Child Left Behind Act era of standards-based accountability school reform. I am hopeful that our efforts to personalize learning for students and to create more flexible and relevant pathways throughout our education system will translate into greater levels of achievement across the entire system, and better serve the personal learning aspirations of students and their families."
The English Language Arts section of the assessment program includes sections on Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Research/Inquiry. The results from each section are combined to form a broad English Language Arts score. The 2018 results are generally positive, with student performance improving in percent proficient and by scale score in almost all grades compared to 2017 scores. In particular, students in grades four and eight showed notable gains of more than five scale points. This was the first year that ninth grade students took the assessments, so no comparisons can be made to last year.
The Mathematics assessment includes tasks and questions that address Communicating Reasoning, Problem Solving and Modeling/Data Analysis, and Concepts and Procedures. In this assessment, results were not as uniform as those reported for English Language Arts. In grades four, six and eight, the percent of students performing in the proficient range increased; students in grades four and six also increased their average scale scores. The percent proficient in grades three, five and seven did not change, and scale score performance in both grades three and five decreased by one point as compared to 2017 results. Except for grade 3, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in mathematics was lower than in English Language Arts by as many as 15 percentage points. In grade nine, only 35 percent of students scored in the proficient range. That score is 20 percentage points less than the percentage of grade nine students with proficient scores in English Language Arts. This was the first year that students in grade nine took the assessments, so no comparisons can be made to last year.
"The Smarter Balanced Assessment Program is only one of the many tools we use to evaluate the quality of the education our students are receiving," said State Assessment Director Michael Hock, "but it is really the only one that assesses student's academic proficiency against a common set of standards adopted by our State Board of Education."
Unfortunately, school and SU/SD level results are not yet publicly available. School systems have access to their results for planning and instructional purposes. However, superintendents have been directed to maintain the privacy of this data as it contains student information that has not yet been validated for public release. These results will be available when the Annual Snapshot, an interactive data visualization platform, launches in December.
As part of its response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the agency's accountability system now includes scores from a new grouping of students. Known as "Historically Marginalized Students," this reporting group combines all student groups historically underserved by educational institutions. The group includes racial/ethnic groups, students with disabilities, English learners and students in poverty - groups that are generally too small to report separately.
Deputy Secretary Heather Bouchey noted, "The state can be quite proud of student achievement overall, yet we cannot overlook the performance discrepancies between students who have historically been marginalized and those who enjoy greater privilege. The agency looks forward to assisting schools in best leveraging their resources in order to address persistent equity gaps."
A spreadsheet of all 2018 Smarter Balanced results is available on the agency's website at http://education.vermont.gov/data-and-reporting/educational-performance/english-language-arts-and-math.
Media Contact: Ted Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, (802) 479-1170
Source: Agency of Education
Last Updated at: October 10, 2018 14:49:26