State Testing Report Issued
Special Report - January 15, 2008
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability submitted its report on North Carolina’s public school testing and accountability programs to the North Carolina Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee last week. Organized in May 2007, the Commission was charged by the State Board of Education (SBOE) to review the State’s testing program and accountability system, and to recommend changes on how to improve it.
Dr. Sam Houston, CEO and President of the North Carolina Science, Math and Technology Center, chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission and presented the 41-page report to the joint legislative committee on January 9. In its report, the Blue Ribbon Commission found that the “current testing program and accountability system do not ensure that students are graduating from high school globally competent for work and post-secondary education and prepared for life in the 21st century.” The report also concluded that there is too much time spent on testing, and that the testing system “has not proven to have an impact that has increased the graduation rate nor reduced the remediation rates at the community college or university level.”
The Commission issued 27 recommendations for improving the State’s testing and accountability program, including: (1) Eliminating the writing tests in 4th, 7th and 10th grades and replacing them with “more authoritative assessments embedded within the curriculum and graduation project;” (2) Revising the elementary and middle school accountability models to include only reading and math end-of-grade tests; (3) Eliminating the online computer skills test; (4) Redefining the high school graduation rate so that it includes students who complete graduation requirements in five years or less; (5) Making sample tests and questions available to the public, before giving students new tests.
At the meeting, SBOE Chairman Howard Lee was not so willing to say that the State’s testing and accountability system needed drastic changes, suggesting that the nation continues to look to North Carolina as an education leader.
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