"I think we're excited for a lot of what the Common Core provides us in terms of direction is how to really move students forward and have students have a more ... rigorous and relevant experience," said John Pandolfo, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment at the Barre Supervisory Union school district.
At Mount Mansfield, Principal Michael Weston said the mathematics courses, for example, are being revised along Common Core guidelines, which defines what students should learn and by when.
"Does it require some adjustments? Yes," Weston said. "Is it going to require us to go back to the drawing board? Sure. When the test comes out might we stumble at first? You know that's what we read about some states who've already been tested ... Might we start there? Yes.
"But I do think when you look at them just at face value they're rigorous and they prepare kids at least in our mind to be successful when they leave us and that's sort of the goal," he said.
Pandolfo said the new test, designed to assess a student's reasoning and critical thinking, should show over time if the Common Core standards are honing those mental skills.
"While we're not all talking about teaching to the test, what we're really saying is ... the test really does assess students for reasoning and offers us a way to really be able to teach them to think better and think more critically," he said.
Vermont is part of a coalition of 25 states calling themselves the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that has created the test Vermont will use in two years. That test will replace the New England Common Assessment Program test currently in use. Another 19 states known as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers have created another test.
The Smarter Balanced test is computer-based. Eighty Vermont schools applied to be one of the 27 to try it out next spring.