SBAC results show majority of Vt. students not meeting proficiency goals

The SBAC standardized test results have been released, and those results show that less than half of Vermont’s students meet proficiency levels tested
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:23 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:04 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The SBAC standardized test results have been released and they show that less than half of Vermont’s students meet proficiency levels for English, math and science.

Preliminary results in 2022 showed the average of all students in each grade scored below a 50% proficiency level in English, mathematics, and science.

Since the SBAC began being administered in 2016, the highest proficiency rates for subjects were in the 50% to 60% range. In 2021, the highest proficiency rate was 52% in English, mathematics and science.

In 2021 and 2022, the state said there were significant pandemic-related limitations and to take caution when comparing to each other and previous years.

State Director of Assessment Amanda Gorham said the state would prefer all the students would reach proficiency in an ideal situation and the concept of proficiency is established by the vendor, measurement professionals and educators.

“We have rigorous standards and we have rigorous assessments, and we also have opportunities to grow. And so I think that as we look forward, our intent is to use this state assessment information along with other sources to help support our students in learning, and then that would theoretically be demonstrated with these assessment scores, seeing an increase in the scores,” said Gorham.

Come this spring, students won’t take SBACs anymore and are switching to Cognia. State education officials say the new test has a larger focus on equity, including more translation options, a diverse group of readings, and all the subjects will be on one platform instead of students switching from written to online exams.

“We want to be continually improving with our assessment program, and what that means for us is continually striving to have an assessment that takes the least amount of time away from instruction as possible, that is more dynamic and engaging for students, that is using the technology that becomes available as time goes on,” said Gorham.

While it’s challenging to compare proficiency among completely different tests, Gorham says the state is receiving a proposal from the vendor to conduct a linking study to see how possible it would be to compare scores.

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