North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction has been warning the public for weeks that student performance on standardized tests this year will be dramatically lower than in years past, reflecting the state’s move to align with the more rigorous Common Core standards as well as other college and career readiness standards in all subject areas.
Only 32 percent of students in grades 3-8 were proficient in reading and mathematics in 2012-13 — that’s almost a 27 percent drop from 2011-12, when 58.9 percent of students were proficient. The overall composite proficiency score for all state tests is 44.7 percent, down from 77.9 percent in 2011-12, a 33 percent drop.
The executive summary of the scores can be read here.
“Today we expect student mastery that demonstrates students are on their way to being career and college ready,” said State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson, who explained that as a result of the higher standards, 2012-13 should be regarded as a transitional year and comparisons to previous years cannot be made.
The new standards are part of North Carolina’s READY Accountability system, which also include a new Standard Course of Study for all subjects and grade levels, new assessments to go with the SCOS, alignment with Common Core standards, and a school accountabilty model that focuses on career and college readiness measures.
School accountability growth results also saw a drop for 2012-13, although not as steep as student test scores. Seventy-one percent of schools met or exceeded growth this year, down from approximately 79 percent last year.
While there are no consequences this year for schools that did not meet growth expectations, next year the General Assembly’s A-F grading system will be in place, which will take into account growth measures.
When other states transitioned to the Common Core and/or adopted more rigorous standards, they also saw dramatic drops in students’ test scores. According to The New York Times, New York, which recently adopted the Common Core, released scores in August which showed that about 31 percent of the state’s students in third through eighth grades met or exceeded the proficiency standard in language arts — down from about 55 percent in 2012 and 77 percent in 2009.
Kentucky also experienced an overall drop of 30 percent in students’ test scores in 2012 when their students took tests aligned with the Common Core standards for the first time.
Atikinson expects to see big jumps in certain areas in proficiency for next year, but incremental progress overall going forward.
Teachers’ scores on the EVAAS system were also released. EVAAS is a value-added metric to measure student growth. Teachers are evaluated with this data to determine their effectiveness in the classroom. More than 20 percent of teachers did not meet expected growth on EVAAS scores.
In addition to the release of statewide test scores, the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores were also released today.
North Carolina fourth and eighth grade students’ performance on the NAEP assessments held steady, according to The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES).
The NCES found that North Carolina students are continuing to perform at or above the national average on NAEP’s mathematics and reading assessments.
Board members expected the release of the annual teacher turnover report at this month’s State Board of Education meeting, but that report was delayed until December due to concerns that data received from local school districts about staffing was not accurate.
A Race to the Top update at the board meeting revealed that 50 percent of North Carolina’s teachers leave their jobs before their fifth year of employment. North Carolina is also one of the top five states in the country that rely on out-of-state teachers to staff its instructional workforce.
At the close of the meeting, the board passed a resolution to devise a comprehensive strategy to increase teacher compensation.
“It’s incumbent on this board to make the profession so attractive that there’s a line at the door, and pay is a piece of that,” said board member Wayne McDevitt.