News Releases

February 07, 2012

Statewide Assessment Results Released - Fewer Than Half of Vermont High Schoolers Scored Proficient in Math, Science

Statewide assessment results for Fall 2011 were released by the Vermont Department of Education today at a press conference held in Montpelier. The results are from the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) exams, given to Vermont public school students in grades three through eight and grade 11. Students are tested in Reading and Mathematics. Writing is assessed at grades 5, 8, and 11. Science is given in grades 4, 8 and 11 each spring.

The following table illustrates the percent of Vermont students proficient in the content area by grade span:

Grade Level Reading Math

Elementary/Middle School (3-8) 74 65

High School (11) 73 36

Grade Level Writing Science*

Elementary School 54 53

Middle School 59 29

High School 48 30

*Science assessed in May 2011

“What is most striking about these results is the significant drop in Math achievement once our students reach high school,” said Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “In over 90 percent of our high schools, fewer than half the students scored proficient in Math and Science. We are currently surveying high schools to find out what Math courses students are taking and when in their high school career they are taking them, to ensure learning is aligned with expectations for graduation. I plan to do the same for Science in the near future. Are students taking the coursework that is being assessed? Are students adequately prepared? These are some of the questions we are hoping to answer.”

Vermont's Grade Level Expectations in Mathematics have been in place since 2004. However, seven years later, the results suggest that many districts are not requiring all students to take the coursework in Algebra I and Geometry necessary to meet the standards by the time they take the 11th grade NECAP.

Commissioner Vilaseca stated: "We are gathering more information about what Math courses all students are required to take, and will carefully consider whether it is time for Vermont to increase our graduation requirements in mathematics.”

“We really have two major concerns,” Assessment Director Michael Hock said in a statement. “Now and going forward to the Common Core State Standards, what do we require for graduation, and what is the recommended course sequence with specified grade levels? This is particularly important for students aspiring to careers in Math and Science. All students should take Algebra and Geometry, and for most they need them early so they are ready for advanced Math classes, as well as Math required for the sciences. This also means we really need to help guidance counselors, as well as teachers, use assessment results effectively.”

The 2010 adoption of the Common Core State Standards sets a higher bar of career and college readiness standards for all students. Starting in 2014, Vermont students, along with students from a majority of other states in the country, will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exams, based on the Common Core State Standards. 2013 will be the last year the NECAP exam will be given.

The NECAP exams are given in collaboration with Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. These exams are designed to specifically assess how well Vermont students have learned the skills and content contained in Vermont’s Grade Expectations. This is the seventh year of results on the NECAP exams for grades three through eight and the fifth year for grade 11. As required under the No Child Left Behind Act, a Science assessment is given each May in grades four, eight and 11.

For the complete packet of state results, including the Power Point from today’s press conference, visit

For school-by-school results, visit:

Source: Department of Education
Last Updated at: February 07, 2012 12:55:44