Vermont Records Poor Math and Science Test Scores

The New England Common Assessment Program has released the results from recent testing across Vermont, which found that only 65 percent of third to eighth grade students and just 36 percent of 11th-graders were proficient in math.

The state also recorded poor results in science too, with only 53 percent of elementary school students meeting the proficient standard. Only 29 percent in middle school and to 30 percent in high school met the state standard.

The latest test results released Tuesday show a significant drop in math and science scores when Vermont students enter high school.

In his reaction to the latest test results, the state’s education chief believes that curriculum in some schools may be to blame, writes Lisa Rathke at the Associated Press.

Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca said:

“In over 90 percent of our high schools, fewer than half the students scored proficient in math and science.

Adding:

“There are many schools that have not aligned their curricula with our standards.”

The department is now set to analyze each school’s math courses. After that analysis, it may request a change in the graduation requirements – such as asking the Board of Education to set the requirement that all students should take algebra and geometry.

While students are required to take three years of math, the standards don’t currently specify which math courses, writes Rathke.

However, under a new system, Assessment Director Michael Hock would like to see students take these compulsory math courses earlier on so they are prepared for advanced math classes and math required for the sciences.

Vermont recorded better results  in reading and writing, with 73 percent of high school and 74 percent of elementary and middle school students meeting the proficient reading standards.

In writing, 54 percent of elementary students, 59 percent of middle school students and 48 percent of high schoolers met the mark, says the report.

Third to eighth grade students are required to take the tests, while fifth, eighth and 11th graders are tested in writing.

In the coming months, many states are set to implement Common Core standards, which would create a national standard of what high school students should know when they graduate from high school.

While Vermont won’t get rid of the NECAP exams until after 2013, students will need to be prepared for the newer standards as soon as they’re set to change.