CVU reacts to poor subgroup scores (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Similar to the Williston School District, an achievement gap continues at Champlain Valley Union High School in the same student subgroups. This year, the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged and special education students widened even more. Principal Sean McMannon said he hadn’t reviewed any student group results.

“I would need to look at specific students and see what’s going on,” McMannon said.

In 2009, CVU scored well below state averages for economically disadvantaged student results; 25 percent of students tested proficient or higher in reading, 4 percent did so in math and 17 percent did so in writing.

Last fall’s results are significantly lower than 2008 scores. That year, 45 percent of economically disadvantaged students tested proficient or higher in math, 14 percent did so in math and 29 percent did so in writing.

In the area of special needs students, 21 percent tested proficient or higher in reading and 14 percent did so in writing. No results were released for math because the sample size of students was deemed too small. Compared to 2008 scores, reading declined while writing improved.

McMannon said the overall CVU scores are about what he expected, but the subgroup scores need more research. He added the student subgroups represent a small population compared to CVU’s student body.

While NECAP exams remain important, McMannon said many skills not assessed by standardized tests are just as critical to learn.

“Some schools in Vermont are really using (NECAP results) and they’re moving toward the ‘teaching to the test’ approach,” McMannon said. “We don’t adhere to that.”