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Latest WWSU NECAP testing scores drop for some, remain same for others

Overall, students in the Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) scored the same or lower on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) tests administered in the fall of 2013 than they did on those test administered in the previous year.

NECAP tests in reading, math and writing measure students' performance relative to Vermont Grade Expectations, which represent the knowledge and skills students should have achieved by the end of the previous school year. NECAP reading and math tests are administered to students in grades 3 through 8 and students in grade 11. The writing portion is only administered to grades 5, 8 and 11.

Student performance on NECAP tests is categorized into four levels: proficient with distinction, proficient, partially proficient, and substantially below proficient. Teachers throughout WWSU review the NECAP results to measure improvement, monitor individual student performance and analyze trends within specific content areas and grade levels. Results are published in the annual WWSU Data Workbook that analyzes the assessment data as far back as 2005, the first year the tests were administered. This year's workbook will be finalized this week and will be made available on the WWSU website.

Statewide, Vermont continues to see two distinct trends: Females continue to outperform males in reading and writing and the achievement gap continues to widen between students in high- and low-income families for all subjects. The NECAP results for the WWSU reflect these statewide trends.

At Harwood Union High School, 58 percent of 11th-grade students scored proficient or higher in reading, down from 75 percent last year. Forty-one percent of 11th-graders scored proficient or higher in math, down slightly from 43 percent last year, and 46 percent scored proficient or higher in writing, down from 54 percent last year. Harwood remains on par with statewide averages for students' performance in mathematics and falls below statewide averages for students' performances in reading and writing.

Throughout The Valley, students in lower grade levels scored higher in the NECAP tests. At Harwood Union Middle School, 87 percent of all students scored proficient or higher in reading 4and 79 percent scored proficient or higher in math. Of the eighth-graders who also took the NECAP writing test, 58 percent scored proficient or higher.

At Waitsfield Elementary School, 83 percent of all students scored proficient or higher in reading, 75 percent scored proficient or higher in math and 58 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient or higher in writing.

At Fayston Elementary School, 85 percent of all students scored proficient or higher in reading, 88 percent scored proficient or higher in math and 60 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient or higher in writing.

At Moretown Elementary School, 74 percent of all students scored proficient or higher in reading and 65 percent scored proficient or higher in math. Only 38 percent of fifth-graders, however, scored proficient or higher in writing.

Warren Elementary School did not participate in the NECAP tests this fall as they are involved in a piloting process for a new statewide assessment program that will begin in the spring of 2015, as schools shift from teaching Vermont Grade Expectations to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English/language arts and math.

The 2013-14 school year marks the first round of teaching CCSS in Vermont. For the 2014-15 school year, the new statewide assessment program, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), will be administered using Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT). The Vermont Agency of Education plans to develop a comprehensive accountability model using the new tests that will provide a more comprehensive portrait of student learning in the state.

Further information about each school's performance in the fall 2013 NECAP tests will be provided at upcoming school board meetings in February and March, and community members can look to their local school board agendas for more information.

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