State testing changes urged (N&O)” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. More on those proposed state testing changes today, courtesy of the Triangle News & Observer:

North Carolina’s public school testing program could be overhauled as part of a sweeping series of changes that could affect how students are tested and how teachers get their bonuses.

Students could take fewer state tests, especially in writing, and teacher bonuses could be tied into how many students graduate from high school. Those were among the recommendations that a committee of State Board of Education members said Wednesday are needed to modernize North Carolina’s testing system.

“Developing a 21st century system will take time,” said Wayne McDevitt, vice chairman of the state board. “We need to do this, but we need to do this right.”

McDevitt headed a group of state board members that reviewed the recommendations of a commission on testing and accountability. The commission was formed by the state board in May 2007 to review the state’s 15-year-old ABCs of Education testing program.

“The system we have in place has plateaued,” said Sam Houston, chairman of the commission. “It’s time to move on.”

McDevitt’s group adopted most of the recommendations from the commission.

For instance, the commission found that too much time was being spent on testing.

The state board responded by recommending the elimination of state writing tests given in fourth, seventh and 10th grades. They are recommending that state educators instead develop a new series of writing assignments, across all grade levels, that local school districts would hand out.

Many educators have complained that the state writing tests aren’t a good measure of writing skills. They point to how North Carolina was the only state whose scores dropped on a recent national writing test as proof.

“The current instrument isn’t giving us what we need to improve the writing of our students,” said Howard Lee, chairman of the state board.

But John Tate, a member of the state board, raised concerns about the message being sent by eliminating the writing exams.

“It feels to me like we’re relaxing standards,” Tate said.


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E.C. )


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