Education

Citing Instructional Time, N.C. Scraps 3 Assessments

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — June 13, 2001 2 min read

North Carolina’s state school board approved a measure last week to eliminate three tests given to more than 270,000 students annually, a change in policy that will save $1.2 million just as state education officials are grappling with how to address a growing budget crisis.

The move also comes as parents, educators, and state legislators are raising concerns that testing is eating into valuable instructional time and putting a strain on students.

The consolidation will not affect the state’s accountability plan, and end-of-grade exams for 3rd through 8th graders will continue.

“I’m glad that we were able to eliminate these tests without undermining our state’s important commitment to accountability,” state board Chairman Philip J. Kirk Jr. said in a statement. “Our students have experienced tremendous gains in achievement, and we’re committed to doing what we have to do to ensure public confidence is maintained.”

Beginning next school year, the state will no longer use the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, which had been given to a random sample of about 6,000 students in 5th and 8th grades. The Open-Ended Assessments, a written-response test aligned with state standards and taken by some 190,000 students in grades 4 and 8 each year, will also be abolished. The High School Comprehensive Tests in reading and mathematics—given to about 77,000 10th graders each year—will be all but eliminated; about 20 schools serving disadvantaged students in the Title I program will continue using the exam as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Leading the Way?

“North Carolina is usually very progressive when it comes to assessment, and it seems the state is being progressive again,” said Wayne Martin, the director of the State Education Assessment Center for the Council of Chief State School Officers, based in Washington. “Given the concerns about the amount of time students are being tested in school, and a budget concern, North Carolina may just be leading a movement that other states may be considering.”

Some California lawmakers, in fact, are promoting a bill that would reduce the amount of testing time for students in that state. (“Calif. Considering Assessment Role Reversal,” June 13, 2001.)

Some educators and opponents of high-stakes testing cheered North Carolina’s decision last week, and urged the state’s officials to continue to ease the burden testing places on schools.

“Finally, the board has realized that students in North Carolina are overtested,” said Chris Fitzsimon, the executive director of the Common Sense Foundation in Raleigh, a nonprofit advocacy organization that is against high-stakes testing. “But unfortunately, [education officials] continue to cling to the notion that we need to evaluate students based on one end-of-grade standardized test. This is a wise decision [by the state board], but it doesn’t address the fundamental problems we have with testing in this state.”

North Carolina’s accountability program came under fire last month on discovery of a glitch in the setting of passing scores on the state mathematics tests. The board and state schools chief Michael E. Ward ordered an audit of the testing and accountability program to determine the soundness of the system. ( “Testing Glitch Prompts N. Carolina To Order System Audit,” May 30, 2001.)

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2001 edition of Education Week as Citing Instructional Time, N.C. Scraps 3 Assessments

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read