Recent Changes to the State's Assessment Requirements
Last year the Vermont Agency of Education moved the high school level Smarter Balanced Assessments for literacy and math to 9th grade rather than 11th. This will be the same in spring 2019. Students and families can learn more about SBAC assessments here.
Last year the state also piloted the Vermont Physical Education Assessment VTPEA in grades 4, 7, and 9 or 10. This coming spring, students in grades 4, 7, and 9 will participate. Learn more about the VTPEA (including the FitnessGram tool and alternative Brockport Physical Fitness Test) here.
Last school year also brought the roll out of the new Vermont Science Assessment (VTSA) aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Students were tested in grades 5, 8, and 11. To learn more, explore AOE resources here.
In the 2019-2020 school year, the AOE will also pilot a school climate survey, VTCLIM.
Smarter Balanced Assessments
In 2018, Vermont students in grades 3-8 and 9 took the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. Each year, we report district-level SBA scores in our Strategic Plan Report. This was our fourth year implementing this computer-delivered assessment developed by Vermont and 24 partner states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). SBAC assessments are designed to provide information about student learning in relation to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The assessments reflect the principles behind the CCSS, including:
- helping students gain the knowledge and skills they need to think and work at a deep level;
- developing such qualities as logical thinking, reasoning from evidence, and effective communication; and
- building students’ abilities to apply what they have learned to real world contexts and preparing them to grapple with problems in the workforce or in college.
In ACSD, we recognize that standardized tests like the SBA provide snapshots of student achievement. Data from any one assessment cannot convey the whole picture of student learning or school efficacy. However, as Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe wrote in an August 2015 letter to Vermonters, tests like this “do give us useful information that we can use to evaluate the size and direction of our achievement gaps, as well as the mastery of individual students on specific content.” In collaborative learning groups, ACSD educators dive into this data and work together to understand it and use the results to improve our practice and help our students make progress.
It is also important to remember that while some critical outcomes for our students are described in the Common Core, there are many other outcomes we feel are essential that are not captured or given high profile in the Core, including history and civics, the arts, and scientific inquiry. We embrace all of these elements of a student-centered education, and our move toward the International Baccalaureate (IB) teaching and learning framework is a reflection of those values.
Release of 2019 State Testing Results
Typically, ACSD mails student SBA scores home in September. While we receive preliminary scores in June, they remain embargoed until the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) releases official scores in the late summer or fall. This delay allows time to validate results. We did not receive student-level data for the 2018 pilot implementations of the VTSA and VTPEA.