Vermont’s Vital Results

The Framework for Proficiency-Based Learning is designed to help schools create efficient and effective systems that will ensure all students graduate prepared to succeed in the college, careers, and communities of the 21st century. For this reason, our model is focused on prioritizing and assessing the most critically important knowledge and skills, while also balancing high academic standards with the need for flexibility, responsiveness, and creativity in the classroom.

For proficiency-based learning to be effective, schools and teachers have to prioritize. They will need to determine what knowledge and skills students absolutely need to acquire before they graduate from high school, what content knowledge students need to learn in each subject area, and what essential benchmarks students need to meet as they progress through their education.

The Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities (adopted 2000) describes what high school graduates should know and be able to do as a result of completing a K–12 educational experience. The Common Core State Standards (adopted 2010) updated the Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities in language arts and mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards (adopted 2013) updated the science standards. Cross-curricular skills are embedded throughout the content-area standards, and the Vital Results describe the cross-curricular, skill-based standards students are expected to learn and acquire over the course of their K–12 education.


Communication Standards Reading

  1. Students use a variety of strategies to help them read.
  2. Students read grade-appropriate material, with more than 90 percent accuracy, in a way that makes meaning clear.
  3. Students read for meaning, demonstrating both initial understanding and personal response to what is read.
  4. Students comprehend and respond to a range of media, images, and text (e.g., poetry, narrative, information, technical) for a variety of purposes (e.g., reading for pleasure as well as reading to develop understanding and expertise).


  1. Students draft, revise, edit, and critique written products so that final drafts are appropriate in terms of purpose, organization, details, and voice or tone.
  2. Students’ independent writing demonstrates command of appropriate English conventions, including grammar, usage, and mechanics.
  3. In written responses to literature, students show understanding of reading; connect what has been read to the broader world of ideas, concepts, and issues; and make judgments about the text.
  4. In written reports, students organize and convey information and ideas accurately and effectively.
  5. In written narratives, students organize and relate a series of events, fictional or actual, in a coherent whole.
  6. In written procedures, students organize and relate a series of events, fictional or actual, into a coherent whole.
  7. In persuasive writing, students judge, propose, and persuade.
  8. In personal essays, students write effectively.
  9. In writing poetry, students use a variety of forms.


  1. Students listen actively and respond to communications.
  2. Students critique what they have heard (e.g., music, oral presentation).
  3. Students use verbal and nonverbal skills to express themselves effectively.
  4. Students use a variety of forms, such as dance, music, theater, and visual arts, to create projects that are appropriate in terms of skill development, reflection and critique, making connections, and approach to work.
  5. Students interpret and communicate using mathematical, scientific, and technological notation and representation.

Information Technology

  1. Students use computers, telecommunications, and other tools of technology to research, to gather information and ideas, and to represent information and ideas accurately and appropriately.
  2. Students use organizational systems to obtain information from various sources (including libraries and the Internet).
  3. Students use graphs, charts, and other visual presentations to communicate data accurately and appropriately.
  4. Students select appropriate technologies and applications to solve problems and to communicate with an audience.
  5. Students employ a variety of techniques to use simulations and to develop models.

Reasoning and Problem Solving Standards Questioning

  1. Students ask a variety of questions.

Problem Solving

  1. Students use reasoning strategies, knowledge, and common sense to solve complex problems related to all fields of knowledge.
  2. Students solve problems of increasing complexity.
  3. Students devise and test ways of improving the effectiveness of a system.
  4. Students produce solutions to mathematical problems requiring decisions about approach and presentation.


  1. Students apply prior knowledge, curiosity, imagination, and creativity to solve problems.
  2. Students respond to new information by reflecting on experience and reconsidering their opinions and sources of information.

Abstract and Creative Thinking

  1. Students demonstrate a willingness to take risks in order to learn.
  2. Students persevere in the face of challenges and obstacles.
  3. Students generate several ideas, using a variety of approaches.
  4. Students represent their ideas and/or the ideas of others in detailed form.
  5. Students modify or change their original ideas and/or the ideas of others to generate innovative solutions.
  6. Students design a product, project, or service to meet an identified need.
  7. Students plan and organize an activity.

Personal Development Worth and Competence

  1. Students assess their own learning by developing rigorous criteria for themselves, and use these to set goals and produce consistently high-quality work.
  2. Students assess how they learn best, and use additional learning strategies to supplement those already used.
  3. Students demonstrate respect for themselves and others.

Healthy Choices

  1. Students identify the indicators of intellectual, physical, social, and emotional health for their age and/or stage of development.
  2. Students make informed, healthy choices that positively affect the health, safety, and well-being of themselves and others.
  3. Students demonstrate competency in many and proficiency in a few of the skills and concepts needed for a lifetime of physical activity.

Making Decisions

  1. Students make informed decisions.
  2. Students demonstrate an understanding of personal economic decisions, and account for their decisions.
  3. Students make decisions that demonstrate understanding of natural and human communities, the ecological, economic, political, or social systems within them, and awareness of how their personal and collective actions affect the sustainability of these interrelated systems.


  1. Students perform effectively on teams that set and achieve goals, conduct investigations, solve problems, and create solutions (e.g., by using consensus-building and cooperation to work toward group decisions).
  2. Students interact respectfully with others, including those with whom they have differences.
  3. Students use systematic and collaborative problem-solving processes, including mediation, to negotiate and resolve conflicts.
  4. Students analyze their roles and responsibilities in their family, their school, and their community.


  1. Students demonstrate dependability, productivity, and initiative.
  2. Students know about various careers.
  3. Students develop a plan for current and continued education and training to meet personal and career goals.

Civic/Social Responsibility Standards Service

  1. Students take an active role in their community.
  2. Students participate in democratic processes.

Human Diversity

  1. Students demonstrate understanding of the cultural expressions that are characteristic of particular groups.
  2. Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of prejudice, and of its effects on various groups.


  1. Students understand continuity and change.
  2. Students demonstrate understanding of the relationship between their local environment and community heritage and how each shapes their lives.

 Download Vermont’s Vital Results (.pdf)

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