Compass Points Sept 2014: Assessment Flaws

You may recall in July, I shared a resolution written by the RNESU Executive Board regarding federal mandates for testing.  As parents receive letters stating that every school in RNESU is identified as low performing under federal law, you may be interested to know that you are not alone.  All schools that participated in the NECAP test have been identified as low performing across the state. The federal standard this year claims that if even one student did not achieve the annual yearly progress, the school was identified as such.

Our RNESU Board resolution speaks to the need for sound assessment practices, an accountability system that goes beyond a single test annually, and multiple evidence and indicators of learning to assess student learning outcomes and monitor progress of our schools.  Please, read the full resolution on our website at .  The Full Board will act on this resolution on Wednesday, September 3 and The Vermont’s School Board Association is considering our language as they update their stand on this issue at their Annual Meeting later this fall.

 School Boards are not alone in this thinking. Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe agrees the current accountability system is flawed. In a letter she wrote to every school district, parent and caregiver, she notes that the Vermont Agency of Education does not agree with this federal policy, “nor do we agree that all of our schools are low performing.” She goes on to cite that Vermont consistently ranks at the highest levels of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, that we have the highest graduation rate in the nation and are ranked second in child well being. The full letter can be read at  The Vermont Board of Education has also just released a resolution that speaks to the use and misuse of standardized testing.


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