School leaders lower expectations for student test scores

Posted November 7, 2013

— 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.

Results in for new, tougher standardized tests Results in for new, tougher standardized tests

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.


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  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance Nov 8, 2013

    So wage freezes going on 5+ years, less teachers, and increased class sizes are NOT helping in the classrooms as promised by the NC GOP? This can’t be their fault being they have a supermajority in the House / Senate PLUS the governor’s office PLUS their conservative superhero Tata running the show for a while. (FIRED and PROMOTED!)

    I blame the obvious liberal number 2 pencil conspiracy and their “mainstream” erasers for "hiding" the real answers ;)

  • tracmister Nov 7, 2013

    It's really funny to hear most of you bash the schools and teachers especially when you realized that this is a direct reflection of society as a whole. Instead of coming up with real solutions, we complain, blame, and blindly follow our political leaders who are out of touch with most of us.

  • tracmister Nov 7, 2013

    It turns out that the correlation is negative (-0.2). The United States spends the second most of any country, and has below average test-scores. Ethnically homogeneous Japan, South Korea and Finland spend at average rates and have the best test scores. Tiny, ethnically homogeneous and "hungry" Estonia spends less than half as much as the United States and Norway on education but has far better test scores.

    Argument over. Doing the comparison in the New York Times way, Conservatives win, and Liberals lose.

    Actually Gary too you mixed that up. Conservatives support vouchers and charters schools something that these nations don't have which is a conservative darling.

  • tracmister Nov 7, 2013

    "Despite pumping billions of dollars into public schools for more than 40 years, the most recent data show a public education system that cannot turn money alone into positive results". - Gary Too

    The perhaps you'd like to comment on the fact that nationally charter schools, the sweetheart darlings of the GOP, have lower test scores than public schools in every geographic region?

    My kids go to a charter. I am very tired of it. In celebrated GOP fashion they are more interested in revenue than results.

    To chime in on the Charter School Debacle, name the industrialized nations in the ten top that have charter schools. You can't because they don't exist.

  • tracmister Nov 7, 2013

    This is all a bunch of empty rhetoric. The testing madness that was "No Child Left Behind" tested way, multiple choice. Most students still do well, but writing is now a part of the equation are we are paying for years of multiple choice testing instituted by the big W. If you don't believe it, go to the school and they will tell you that writing is now a part of the test in all disciplines.

  • Plenty Coups Nov 7, 2013

    Gary_too-"OK PC, I was trying to be fair and use your sources, but here is one from my side of the street."

    This is just like your previous link. An ultra conservative group misuses the drop in SAT scores as a false attack on public schools. They fail to mention that more students than ever before are taking the thing which is the reason for the drop as it used to be just college bound seniors taking it. Kind of a big omission. Even then, not all students take the thing which is why serious studies use the NAEP, which gives a fairer representation of student achievement. Since 1970, student scores have RISEN slightly, not dropped.

  • Plenty Coups Nov 7, 2013

    Gary_too-"And here is another PC. This directly addresses your falsehood."

    No it doesn't. I'll tell you why. First off, its an ultra conservative website not interested in a balanced or honest approach. It takes ACT scores as a basic measure as to how states compare which is a completely dishonest attempt to measure them because the percent of students that actually take the thing varies widely state to state. Of course they forget to mention that as it doesn't fit their agenda. To accurately compare state educational performance, one has to use a test that gives a good representation of all students and that's the NAEP test which is given in all states by the federal government and which more accurately measures student performance. That's the test that shows that states that spend more generally do better.

  • Gary_too Nov 7, 2013

    Washington DC spends 60% more per pupil than most states and receives the lowest SAT scores nationwide.

  • Gary_too Nov 7, 2013

    The perhaps you'd like to comment on the fact that nationally charter schools, the sweetheart darlings of the GOP, have lower test scores than public schools in every geographic region?

    Save It

    Not my comment, just from studies.

  • Gary_too Nov 7, 2013

    And here is another PC. This directly addresses your falsehood.