New standards bring lower test scores statewide - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New standards bring lower test scores statewide

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The NC State Board of Education released the 2012-2013 end-of-grade and end-of-course test results Thursday and with them came the realization that students are not where they need to be.

Test scores dropped statewide. In 2011-12, 58.9% of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in both reading and math. However, only 32% of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in the same subjects this year.

Dr. Tim Markley with New Hanover County Schools says this drop was expected because this school year is the first time the new READY Accountability Model and new assessments aligned to college and career ready content standards were used.

"As in previous times when the tests have been renormed, we have experienced an initial dip in our results. It is important to understand that the new assessments have more difficult standards that the students were measured against." Markley said. "Our results indicate student growth, and in the future, test scores will show an upward trend."

This drop in scores is being felt statewide, but in a press release provided on Thursday, State Superintendent June Atkinson says it's all an effort to better prepare North Carolina's students.

"Students today are expected to solve problems and to use knowledge in new ways," said Atkinson. "We have raised standards for students because we want them to be ready for anything they choose to do after high school. That means doing more to prepare them for the competitive challenges of college and careers."

According to the State Board of Education, this new testing model follows through on a tradition of reporting of both academic growth rates and the percentage of students who scored proficient on state assessments. The "growth" illustrates the progress the student has made during the course of the school year.

Out of 2,405 schools, 28.6% exceeded expected growth, 42.7% met expected growth, and 28.7% did not meet growth goals.

Individual student scores will be given to parents to review within the next 30 days.

These results follow the National Assessment of Educational Progress more closely, according to the State Board of Education. It's generally considered to be the "Nation's Report Card" for public schools.

NAEP's 2013 results were also released Thursday. It shows fourth and eighth graders in North Carolina are on par with the national reading and math averages.

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