October 4, 2013
The North Carolina State Board of Education has taken a bold approach to accurately measuring student performance while sensibly delaying high-stakes school and teacher evaluation changes based on new test results.
Across the state, North Carolina teachers have been hard at work teaching their students to new, more rigorous standards. Last school year, students were assessed against these standards for the first time. Scores typically drop when new tests are introduced, and as expected, lower student scores on the 2012-2013 tests reflect the more challenging standards and assessments. It’s not that students are performing worse—they aren’t —they are just being measured against a higher bar.
Rather than adjust the cut scores to soften the blow, the North Carolina State Board of Education unanimously voted to raise proficiency scores and set a new baseline for student improvement in the coming years. This decision underscores a commitment to transparency and a vision for what our students can do. North Carolina is joining other forward-thinking states like Kentucky and Tennessee by taking a principled position that will ultimately ensure that students, parents, educators, and the public have an accurate picture of how well our students are being prepared to meet the new challenges.
The State Board of Education has acknowledged that improving instruction takes time and has wisely decided not to include 2012-2013 student scores to determine the A-F school ratings or in teacher evaluations.
The pathway to college and career readiness, and to a more educated, highly skilled workforce depends on several integrated factors: high standards, aligned assessments, student and teacher supports, parent involvement, and transparent and timely public reporting. The North Carolina State Board of Education has stepped up to the plate and set our state on a thoughtful, reasonable course forward.
For information on teacher attitudes about the new College-and Career-Ready Standards, go here.
To learn more about the N.C. Board of Education’s adoption of tougher standards, read the article here.