Not your typical advanced average student

Let us summarize: 4,500 students from grade 4 or grade 8 took the assessment, 270 students were advanced, 1,665 students were proficient, 1,935 students were basic, and 585 students were below basic.

I know this information only adds up to 4,455 students; this is because the percentages released only reflect 99 percent of the students. NAEP lost 1 percent in its calculations or 45 students. I hope it wasn't your child. The disturbing fact related to all this is that the Vermont Department of Education, via a January news release written by by Jill Remick, DOE communications director, says this is good news for Vermont.

This appalling data makes Vermont the third best state in the United States. Only New Jersey and Massachusetts did better. Even this is hard to figure out. Are we in trouble or what? Now, lets talk about the other assessmentthe NECAP.

Currently, the NECAP results are languishing in what the government calls an embargo. This mostly means that they are trying to figure out what they are going to tell us as to why the results will be so bad. Well, I know why. I plan on asking my local schoolboard if they know why.

I want the NECAP results displayed for the 2005 assessment and the 2006 by class, by grade; we are not entitled to see individual students results and we should never have that kind of access. These details are private and are between the school and the parents of the students.

I hope I can the local NECAP report findings soon. Maybe, you can ask your schoolboard members for the results in your area. You should--its public information and you helped pay to have the data gathered.

We are spending a lot of money on schools in Vermont. I wonder if they are teaching what the expectations indicate they are suppose to teach to our students?

Jim Callahan is a math consultant in Vermont and New York elementary and middle schools. He was former principal of Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury, Vt.

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