School leaders lower expectations for student test scores
Posted November 7, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina parents and students will get their first look Thursday at the results of the latest iteration of end-of-grade and end-of-course tests.
Education leaders were trying to manage expectations in advance of the results, pointing out that as standards increase, scores are likely to drop.
The tests students took in the spring were the result of a five-year process that included an increase in the rigor of the tests and the implementation of the Common Core standards. Rather than simply testing whether students are ready to advance to the next grade, the tests are designed to foster the critical thinking necessary for them to be college and career-ready.
The last time North Carolina changed its testing process, in 2005-06, scores dropped year over year by about 18 percent. Education leaders expect and even more precipitous drop with this switch.
The DPI warned that proficiency levels in math, science and reading could be down by up to 40 percent. But that is a false comparison.
The DPI points out that any year-to-year comparison is like comparing apples to oranges. The better trend data will come next year, when parents will have two years of tests to compare.
"We fully expect proficiency levels to steadily increase as teachers and students acclimate to the new content standards and expectations," State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a statement.
The state Department of Public Instruction will release results for individual schools and districts in at the State Board of Education's monthly meeting in Raleigh. Individual students will have to wait about a month for their test scores.
The biennial National Assessment Educational Progress also out Thursday, showed North Carolina students holding steady compared to their peers across the country. Those rankings compare a sampling of test results from students in fourth and eighth grades nationwide.