MONTPELIER — Vermont’s elementary and middle-school students are showing improvement in their writing skills, but reading and math scores remain virtually unchanged, according to results from the New England Common Assessment Program released Wednesday.
Proficiency in writing among middle-school pupils jumped seven points between fall 2011 and 2012, from 59 percent to 66 percent. Elementary pupils’ scores also showed improvement during the same period, rising five points, with 51 percent of them proficient. Writing proficiency among high school students dipped slightly, from 48 percent to 46 percent.
On the mathematics side, 65 percent of pupils in grades three through eight were considered proficient, unchanged from the previous year. Among high school students, proficiency rose from 36 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2012.
NECAP uses four categories to characterize students’ scores: proficient with distinction, proficient, partially proficient and substantially below proficient. For reporting purposes, proficiency scores will include a combined score of proficient and proficient with distinction.
“While we only saw a slight increase in high school math scores, our educators are serious about improving our students’ understanding and passion for math,” said Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca. “If Vermont’s students are going to be ready to continue their education beyond high school and be successful in the 21st century, they’re going to need stronger math skills and knowledge. A 2 percent increase is not enough.”
In Barre, Spaulding High School saw gains in reading proficiency — from 66 percent to 72 percent — and a four-point decrease in math proficiency to 34 percent.
“We went up 6 percent and the state went up 2 percent, so we’re more than holding the line,” said Spaulding Assistant Principal Chris Hennessey of his school’s reading scores, while also noting his young math department and recent revamping of its curriculum. “We still have a bit of work to do there.”
Montpelier High School students’ proficiency level dropped slightly in reading — from 85 percent to 83 percent — while they gained by a greater amount in math, showing 62 percent proficient. The previous year, 57 percent reached that level in math.
For complete reports on each school, go to http://education.vermont.gov.
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