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When do statewide summative assessments in ELA, math, and science take place?

The VTCAP and MSAA test window for the 2023-24 school year begins on March 11, 2024 and ends on April 26, 2024. A one-week make-up window from April 29, 2024 to May 3, 2024 is available for VTCAP only.   

What students are required to participate in the assessments?

All publicly funded students who are enrolled in schools, both public and independent/private, within the boundaries of the state must be accounted for in state assessments. In addition, any student attending a public school, including privately funded students' needs to participate. 

What students must the State account for when reporting out assessment data?

The state must account for the following students when reporting out assessment data:  

  • Every publicly funded student enrolled in a Vermont public school  

  • Every privately funded student enrolled in a Vermont public school  

  • Every student enrolled in an independent school located in Vermont whose tuition is publicly funded  

What grade levels are required to participate in statewide summative assessments of ELA, Math, and Science, as described in the current ESSA State Plan?

Students in eligible grade levels are required to participate in statewide summative assessments of ELA, Math, and Science.  

  • ELA assessments are required for Grades 3-9  

  • Math assessments are required for Grades 3-9  

  • Science assessments are required for Grades 5, 8, and 11  

Is it necessary to assess students who enroll during the test window?

Yes, if the student enrolls on or before April 26, 2024. If the student arrives after the school has completed testing, the school should make arrangements for an individual test administration. If possible, the school should contact the student's prior placement (if it is a Vermont school) to determine if the student has completed some or all of the tests.

What if another school has already completed testing?

Students only need to complete the assessments once. If the students has already completed all of the tests at another school they do not need to be re-tested.  

Are there exemptions from participating in the statewide summative assessments of ELA, math, and science?

Federally recognized exceptions to the requirements prescribed by the United States Department of Education (ESSA § 1111(b)(2)) include:  

  • English Learners who enrolled in a U.S. school for the first time within the last 12 months before the beginning of the testing window (Note: this exemption applies to ELA only, not math or science)  

  • Students who experience a significant medical emergency throughout the testing window are eligible for an exemption  

In the State of Vermont, the following students are not required to test: 

  • Students who are newly enrolled in a Vermont school from out of state after April 26. 

  • Foreign exchange students who are not publicly funded (Note: if they do participate, their scores are not used in accountability determinations.) 

May non-publicly funded students who attend an independent school participate in state testing? Does this apply to religiously affiliated schools?

Non-publicly funded students attending independent schools are not eligible to participate in testing. This extends to religiously affiliated schools.  

Are exchange students required to participate in state assessment?

Not unless their tuition is paid with public funds. This typically is not the case. 

May exchange students participate in state assessments?

Yes, but their test scores will not be used in accountability determinations  

Are students enrolled in home study (i.e., home school) required to participate in assessment?

A student enrolled in home study is not a publicly funded student and therefore is not required to test, even if the student accesses classes or services provided by the public school, and even if the classes they access correspond to the content measured by the tests. 

May home study students participate in state assessments if requested by the parent/caregiver?

Yes, but with the following conditions applied: (1) the student should be assessed at the same time and in the same location as the classmates the student would have if not a homeschooled student, (2) the student's test scores should not be included in the school's public reporting, and (3) this is a courtesy that is extended voluntarily by the local school and not required by state or federal rules, and (4) the local school is not required to contact parents/caregivers of home study students to offer this courtesy.  

Can parents opt-out their children from state assessments?

Parent requests for opt-out or refusal are addressed by local school officials. Use of the state medical exemption process for this purpose will be rejected. Federal law does not require or forbid a parental right to opt-out (ESSA, 2016). The State of Vermont is committed to administering these assessments to further equity-focused work. Therefore, the State does not have an opt-out provision and the Agency of Education does not support opt-out. Learn more.

Is there any consequence if an eligible student does not participate in testing?

If a student eligible for statewide assessment does not participate in testing (and is not exempt), he/she/they will not receive a score for that test. In terms of both reporting and accountability, there are possible consequences for non-participation, though no consequences directly impacting students exist.  

Consequences related to reporting may include:  

  • No score reported for the student to caregivers or schools.

Consequences related to accountability may include:  

  • Student not included in the computation of accountability metrics  

  • If the school or district's participation rate is less than 95% of eligible students, the average scale score for the school or district will be weighted by the participation rate (e.g., scale score * participation rate).