The 2015 statewide New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science test results have been released. If the test is an accurate representation of the student’s literacy in scientific fields, the data shows that Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) fourth-, eighth- and 11th-grade students are struggling.
NECAP has a four-tier scoring system: proficient with distinction, proficient, partially proficient and substantially below proficient.
Within the WWSU, results for the 2015 NECAP are varied. When tested this past spring, 85 percent of Waitsfield Elementary School students scored proficient in science, compared to 57 percent of students at Warren Elementary School (which also had 5 percent of students scoring proficient with distinction and 31 percent of students scoring partially proficient).
At Moretown Elementary School, 28 percent of students scored proficient in science, 50 percent scored partially proficient and 21 percent scored substantially below proficient. Because less than 10 students took the test at Fayston Elementary School, the results were not released to the public because they contain potentially identifiable information.
At Harwood Union Middle School, 37 percent of the students scored proficient in science and 53 percent scored partially proficient. At Harwood Union High School, 33 percent of the students scored proficient in science, 29 scored partially proficient and 34 percent scored substantially below proficient.
Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe commented that the state has not seen NECAP science scores improve within the past several years and suggests that this could be because the amount of classroom time spent on science may be diminishing due to the federal emphasis on English, language arts and math within the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
This is the eighth year that the NECAP science test has been administered. Recently, the state has replaced the NECAP test with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) for other subjects like English because school administrators believe that the SBAC test is a better indicator of students’ abilities. After 2017, the NECAP science test will also be replaced by SBAC.