The State Board of Education convened for its monthly meeting today in Cullowhee, where members decided they will release 2012-13 test scores without adjusting them to reflect last year’s new rigorous standards.
Last year was the first in which students were subject to curricula and exams based on the state’s revised Standard Course of Study, which incorporates more rigorous learning goals. Academic achievement standards, or “cut scores,” are the scores that determine whether or not a student’s performance on End-of-Grade tests is considered passing.
Statewide, test scores for 2012-13 were significantly lower than in years past, which was expected and typical when states introduce tougher educational standards.
Board members considered implementing transitional cut scores  for 2012-13 that would have allowed a phase-in of expectations for more rigorous standards. Today members decided against doing that.
Educators and board members are worried that the message sent to parents and students will be that schools are not doing a good job of educating their students. At September’s meeting, board member and vice chairman A.L. Buddy Collins said that the new, raw cut scores “will be a tremendous blow to our teachers.”
Based on NC Department of Public Instruction analyses, schools and parents will see drops as high as 30 to 40 percentage points in terms of the percentage of students scoring proficient or above.
“North Carolina students didn’t lose ground in their learning last year, but they are being measured against a higher standard with more rigorous expectations for applying knowledge and skills to real-world problems,” said State Superintendent Atkinson. “In order for our students to be competitive upon graduation, we have an obligation to expect more from them.”
Local and school district scores will be released Nov. 7 at next month’s Board meeting. For a look at the statewide impact of the standards, click here .