North Carolina is dropping a decade-old policy that required end-of-the-year exams for 3rd, 5th, and 8th graders to ensure students were mastering their grade-level subjects. The state board of education concluded this month that the policy didn’t appear to be effective.
The testing requirement was intended to reduce social promotion. Board Chairman Bill Harrison said the tests didn’t work, though, in part because exceptions in the policy allowed principals to promote children who had failed.
Data show the policy didn’t make a difference in the percentage of children who were held back, he said. About 5 percent of the state’s 1.4 million public school students weren’t promoted in 2008, according to the state education department.
The board agreed to replace the policy with a set of standards by which schools and teachers will be judged on student performance.
A version of this article appeared in the October 20, 2010 edition of Education Week as N.C. Scrapping Policy Meant to End Social Promotion