By John McClaughry
VTDigger’s report entitled “Making the Grade?” presents the results of the tests used by Vermont and 14 other states to determine public school student proficiency in English and math in third, eighth and 11th grades.
The Vermont Agency of Education goes to great pains to emphasize that it’s not possible to compare the student proficiency levels of one state with another, for a lot of complicated reasons. So don’t leap to the unwarranted conclusion that public education is getting better results in state A over state B.
But now for the key finding of the report:
Vermont is among a group of states that use the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test to measure student performance in English and math for students in 3rd through 8th grades and 11th grade…. Students who score proficient or above have mastered the material and are ready for the next grade….The average percentage of students achieving proficiency this year in Vermont was 48.4 percent, down from 50.92 percent last year.
Did you get that? Half of our public school students finishing their respective school years are not ready to advance to the next grade, measured by Vermont’s own proficiency standards, which may be too high, or too low — who’s to say?
For a billion and a half dollars every year, it seems to me that we ought to be getting better than 50 percent proficiency.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.