- Vermont’s choice of indicators, emphasis on the growth of all students, and system of identifying comprehensive support schools are all promising.
- In particular, Vermont has successfully broadened the definition of school quality to include science, physical education and health, and measures of college and career readiness — while still using a relatively small number of high-quality indicators that will focus schools on what is most important to the state.
- The state’s goals and indicators appear to be backed by strong assessments and standards.
- Vermont uses its ESSA flexibility in creative ways to attempt to hold schools accountable for students who would otherwise be overlooked. Finally, Vermont’s decision to incorporate both a school’s current score and its year-to-year change in a matrix approach is creative and will help the state identify the schools that are struggling the most.
- Although Vermont is working to translate its plan for educators and parents, the overall complexity of its proposed system may challenge some stakeholders to understand the performance of their local schools.
- While Vermont’s matrix approach holds promise, it also relies on a number of arbitrary cut points that will be difficult for educators or the public to interpret.
- Vermont’s system is also heavily weighted toward student growth at the exclusion of proficiency. Absent some checks against proficiency, it could leave low performers behind.
- More worrisome is the fact that Vermont’s plan may ultimately mask the performance of low-performing subgroups of students. Due to its small size and lack of racial diversity, Vermont proposes an “equity index” as a way to incorporate subgroup performance, but it does not show data on how that decision will affect schools in the state.
- Vermont’s plan to support low-performing schools is not clear in how it will develop a menu of evidence-based strategies linked to needs assessments of these schools.
- As the state moves forward, it should also consider how it will learn from implementation and make adjustments moving forward, particularly with respect to interventions in its low-performing schools.