Over the weekend, North Carolina’s Superintendent, stepped into the testing backlash debate in an article at WUNC.
Atkinson, who is also President of the CCSSO — one of the DC trade organizations who brought the nation Common Core — told WUNC tests are first used to grade the schools. In other words, fulfilling federal requirements.
— A.P. Dillon – LL1885 (@LadyLiberty1885) June 7, 2015
Excerpt from WUNC:
“One of the tests, of our teachers told us we only have to get 11 out of the 40 questions right to pass because of the curve,” says Becca Whittaker, a freshman at Jordan High School. “Like if you went in and marked A for every question, you’d pass… So, it just shows that they’re not effective.”
“Any student in school would think that we over-test. We have to put tests in perspective,” explains state Superintendent June Atkinson.
Atkinson says there are two reasons why tests are so important: The first is to judge how schools are doing (for the first time, schools this year were assigned A-F grades based largely on student test scores); the second is to figure what the students know to drive classroom instruction.
Atkinson continued, saying there was confusion and kids don’t take too many tests but instead the focus should be taking the ‘right kind of tests’.
“In some respects, I believe North Carolina has lost its balance and its focus on what are the reasons why we test,” she says.
If you try counting the different tests students take, it would get very confusing, very quickly. Eighth grade is the year that students take the most tests.
A kid in 3rd grade in this state can be exposed to up to 95 separate assessments throughout the year from Read to Achieve, Mclass, Case21 and the EOG.
This total does not include the built in ‘Blackline Master’ Common Core assessments that Wake county is using throughout the year to compile a child’s overall grade.
“Part of the confusion is that parents and students do not where if the test originates from the state or whether it is a local test,” Atkinson explains.
That’s sort of an amazing admission.
Parents across the state are confused about testing in North Carolina for a number of reasons. Testing law, policies and rules are posted in multiple locations for one thing. For another, parents cannot get a straight answer out of DPI on opting out.