skip to main content

Participation In Assessment and Accountability

When do statewide summative assessments take place?

The State provides a three-month window for testing to take place, between mid-March and early June. During the 2021-2022 school year, the state testing window extends from March 16, 2022, through June 11, 2022, with the last two weeks of that window reserved for make-up testing. SUs/SDs may schedule testing any time during this window.  

What students are required to participate in assessment?

All Vermont publicly funded students who are enrolled in schools, both public and 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 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 assessment window? What if the school has already completed testing?

Yes. 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 test. Schools are not required to repeat testing with a new arrival.  

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 student categories are exempted from participating in the statewide summative assessments of ELA, Math, and/or 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 prior to the beginning of testing window (Note: this exemption applies for ELA only, not Math or Science) (See Vermont Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual, Page 8)  

  • Students who experience a significant medical emergency and are eligible for a medical exemption  

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

  • Under our current contract, students who are newly enrolled in a Vermont school from out of state after May 15 are not required to be tested. This may change.  

  • 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 foreign exchange students required to participate in state assessment?

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

May foreign 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 publicly funded students and therefore are 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 with 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.  

What happens if a student transfers to a Vermont school after May 15th?

  • If a student transfers into a Vermont school after May 15th, from out of state, the school where the student is newly enrolled is not required to assess the student.  

  • If a student has transferred from one Vermont school to another Vermont school before May 15th and has partially completed an assessment, the new school is able continue testing that student where they left off at the previous school. The students test completion and results will follow that student even if a test has been started and not completed at the previous school. 

Can parents opt-out students 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

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  

Consequences related to accountability may include:  

  • Student not included in 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). Federal law requires schools missing the 95% participation rates to develop plans to improve their students' performances based on local context and stakeholders' input