(Host) The state of Vermont has announced plans to team up with New Hampshire and Rhode Island on a school testing initiative that will affect most younger students in the three states. It’s believed that the regional collaboration is the first of its kind in the country.
Starting in the fall of 2005, all students in Grades 3 through 8 in the three states will take similar tests in math and reading. In addition, students in Grades 5 and 8 will be assessed in writing skills.
Vermont Education Commissioner Richard Cate says the plan will help the states save money on new assessment programs:
(Cate) “The problem with developing exams is that, regardless of the size of the state, there’s a baseline cost that has to be paid. So a place like New York pays about the same price as a place like Vermont and obviously the resource bases are very different. So we gain from an economy of scale by bringing three small states together to share that cost.”
(Host) Cate says the project will also allow educators in the three states to work together on new assessment initiatives:
(Cate) “We need to do more of this in terms of not trying to reinvent the wheel in every single state. We need to be more efficient in the use of the brainpower of our people. So I think it’s good that we were able to come together and come to agreement on what we expect students to know.”
(Host) It’s expected that regional science assessments will be implemented in the 2007 school year under this program.