Thursday March 20, 2014
This is the last year South Burlington students will be taking the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) assessments in reading, mathematics, and writing. Starting next year, all students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exam. The new computer based test will assess student progress with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the spring of 2015.
The NECAP results were recently released and overall, South Burlington’s scores were very strong and some of the best ever at the high school. In every category, South Burlington Schools scored above the state average. One notable highlight is that there were more high school students proficient in math, reading, and writing than ever before and of the 176 grade 11 students who were proficient in reading, 134 were proficient with distinction.
Compared to area school districts, South Burlington High School students came out on top with proficiency scores of 79 percent in writing, 90 percent in reading, and 57 percent in math.
At the middle school however, proficiency percentages fell square in the middle compared to area schools. FHTMS scored 63 percent in writing, 73 percent in math, and 79 percent in reading.
Elementary school results are broken down by school when doing comparisons to other districts, but again, South Burlington schools did well. Writing proficiency scores ranged from 67-77 percent, math from 76-83 percent, and reading 79-84 percent. In reading, Orchard was 84 percent proficient, Rick Marcotte Central was 82 percent, and Chamberlin was 79 percent. In math Orchard School was 83 percent proficient, Rick Marcotte was 81 percent, and Chamberlin was 76 percent. In writing Chamberlin School was 77 percent proficient, Orchard was 72 percent, and Rick Marcotte was 67 percent. The top elementary school proficiency scores in the area went to Charlotte in all three categories.
Results for South Burlington were also broken out by gender and whether students receive state and federal economic assistance (mainly indicated by whether the student receives free or reduced lunch). Comparisons to state average scores were also examined.
The South Burlington administrators always look closely at the scores of the subgroups and while the percentage point difference between students who receive assistance and those who do not persists, a new trend emerged this year and that is a gender gap. According to test results from prior years, male and female students who do not receive assistance have been within a few percentage points of one another; not so this year in grades 3-8. While the male and female scores for grade 11 in all categories remained close, a significant gap was found in writing for grades 5 and 8 where males were 59 percent proficient and females were 85 percent proficient.
Each school is required to have an improvement plan even if they were not identified as a school in need of improvement based upon prior results. Action plans must be finished and submitted to the state by May to show how children are progressing through the system and what gains can be made particularly within subgroups. More information on these action plans will be presented to the school board in May.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent