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School Officials, Parents Ponder Mixed Test Results

Posted August 24, 2007

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— End of grade test scores came in for Wake County, and the results were mixed.

Overall, reading and math scores went up for third to eighth graders. But white and Asian students were still performing well above blacks and Latinos. The achievement gap was larger at the high school level.

Wake County officials said some of the numbers look good. More than 90 percent of elementary and middle students were reading at grade level or above. Math scores also went up for that age group.

But results weren’t so shiny in the high schools.

On tests taken at the end of each high school course, black students’ test scores dropped more than nine percentage points from the previous school year, 59.6 to 50.2. Latino scores dropped about seven percentage points, 65.9 to 58.7.

Whites and Asians dropped two percentage points.

“We should all be concerned. We as a community are responsible for children,” said Calla Wright, with the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children.

Wake County officials said they look for teachers whose students are scoring high, figure out what's working and pass those ideas along to other teachers. They also try to get more parents involved in schools.

“If I’m an African American parent of a high school kid, I want to know a lot about Algebra I,” said David Holdzkom, Wake County assistant superintendent for evaluation and research.

Wright - who is an advocate, parent and teacher – said she agrees.

“Are parents involved in the children’s education? Because that’s a critical part,” she said.

At Combs Elementary, teachers have given parents guidelines for what students should be learning every step of the way.

“To give the parents the tools that they need so that everyone feels successful, then my job is done, almost,” said teacher Kelly Schroeder.

School officials said some of the drops in scores were due to a change in state standards, especially in math.


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  • Nancy Aug 26, 2007

    Seems that the NCSSA is none to happy with the state's testing and outcomes for a wide variety of reasons...


  • Killian Aug 26, 2007

    Nancy -- A purchased test? Are you serious? Every single test put out by the state of NC is developed in house, with a minimum of 50% of the questions being written by current NC teachers. The remainder are written by test developers, most of whom are employed by the state. Not one test taken by NC school children is a "purchased" test.

    Each test is written to established curriculum, not the other way around. Kindly check your facts before engaging in mudslinging.

  • Nancy Aug 26, 2007

    killian - then perhaps you can explain to all (those unaware) that our state assessment testing is a purchased test, in fact, that there are only a couple companies that sell these "tests" and that we teach to the test to raise those scores to make us look good nationally?

  • Killian Aug 26, 2007

    Nancy -- You're right. And thanks -ever- so much for that info, but I work for the state testing program. I'm aware of our history. I also know that most other states look to -us- for guidance, especially in alternate assessment. However, while we have had assessment for years, the latest paths down which assessment is going is directed by federal legislation. (NCLB)

    Go snark at someone who doesn't have a clue.

  • Nancy Aug 26, 2007

    "testing requirements come from the federal gov't, not from state gov't."

    killian - the state has their own end of grade tests to measure their own standards, have for a very long time.

    Read all about it:


  • Rocknhorse Aug 26, 2007

    Lolly - I love your example with the two foreigners and their response to education. I have said many years that we all begin school with the same books and the same opportunities to learn. It's how we approach it that distinguishes those who pass and those who fail. I worked hard in school. I passed easily. I know so many teachers who are willing to tutor those who need additional help if they would only be asked. You can't help those who won't help themselves.

  • Rocknhorse Aug 26, 2007

    ctd - The testing showed that child was NOT ADD. I didn't need a test to know that about my child. Otherwise he would have been ADD in K-2, at home, on the ball field, in church, ... I told this to the teacher and said ADD is not selective just for her class. I told her it was HER job to TEACH my child and MY job to reinforce that at home!

    Alas, we made it through and now have WONDERFUL teachers. 5th grade was an absolute JOY for my son. His teacher taught them in class and he might have had an occassional question about homework, but he'd been prepared in class and could do it on his own.

    There are some good teachers (most of them) and there are some who should seek another profession. In the end, it still falls on the shoulders of the parents to put the emphasis on education and reinforce what is learned. If I were a parent who didn't care, I would have said fine, 30 mins and put it away. As it was, I TAUGHT my child their 3rd grade curriculum and he's smarter for it.

  • Rocknhorse Aug 26, 2007

    "If you want your kids to learn anything, you have to teach them yourself."

    I have felt that way as well. My son came home with 2.5 hours of homework each night in 3rd grade. He would sit at the table and cry b/c he didn't know HOW to do it. I would sit and teach him (I went to school to be a math/french teacher). I asked him why this was so difficult? He said b/c they have not covered it in class. I had several meetings w/the teacher who said, "Just make him do 30mins/night. Send a note re: the amount unfinished. She said she wanted to see what they knew b4 teaching. If this were occassional, then I'd say OK, but this was every night. Sorry, but I teach my kids to complete assignments. I asked again, what do you do in class? Play games. At one conf. the teacher suggested my son was ADD. She told several other parents this. One parent had their child tested ($thousands). cont'd

  • hacienda220 Aug 26, 2007

    to fatty at 11.27

    You make a good point about teaching your own kids. My kids are in their 30s, so it was harder when they were young. There was not as to buy cheaply. But both knew how to read when they went to kindergarten.

    Now it is so easy. Wal-Mart and Target have lots of cheap books on reading and math. There are lots of computer programs that kids love. Sam's Club sells Hooked on Phonics for $29 and I used it on my friend's kids. They were reading at 4. But it requires adult help. So what? It's fun to help your kids.

  • hacienda220 Aug 26, 2007

    Education problems cannot be fixed with one size fits all solutions. But one thing is for sure, public schools are not educating many children, and this leads to many societal problems. Whose fault? You decide.

    I'm a retired educator and have seen all sorts of plans and ideas to solve the lack of progress with black and Hispanic students. Most cost a lot of money and we do not see much improvement.

    Many years ago I met with one my student's mom about the fact he had not done his homework for over a week. It was first grade. I gave her the homework for the whole week and asked her to sit with her son while he did his work. It required 7-10 minutes. She replied "Isn't that what you get paid to do?"

    I went back to school and retired as a collge professor. It was a battle for the 3 years I taught elementary school.

    Most of these low-income kids go to Head Start. The curriculm is good. Parents are told the importance of helping their kids. Do they? NO, at least most don't.