Vermont provides an innovative approach to its school quality indicator.
The indicator includes science, physical education, career and college readiness, and postsecondary outcomes. These indicators are aligned to the state’s goals and will resonate with families concerned that a focus on math and ELA assessments could narrow the curriculum. They will incentivize schools to take a more holistic view of school quality.
The state should give stronger weight to its four-year graduation rate.
At the high school level, Vermont is proposing to calculate an overall graduation rate indicator score based on the average of four-year and six-year adjusted cohort graduation rates. The state could strengthen its plan by giving stronger weight to the four-year rate in its accountability system, and not just average the two together.
Despite its formal assessment system ending in ninth grade, Vermont’s college-and-career-readiness indicator includes a wide variety of measures.
This indicator includes a wide variety of readiness measures for students who are planning different types of postsecondary pathways. Vermont gives schools a menu of options for this measure — SAT, ACT, AP, IB, CLEP, ASVAB, Industry Recognized Certificates — but the state should monitor its data to ensure all of these options are equally predictive of postsecondary success.
Vermont ignores students who have dropped out prior to graduation.
Vermont should consider using the ninth-grade cohort – instead of total graduates – in its calculations. At a minimum, Vermont should closely monitor dropout rates and the relationship between cohort graduation rates and the college-and-career-readiness measure.