The State Board of Education to review new standardized tests

The State Board of Education could decide this year if it
should adopt a more Common Core friendly standardized test or continue with the
current system.

It's an exam almost every student in North Carolina takes
each year. A standardized test measures a student's ability to retain
information but despite a Common Core curriculum overhaul, the State Standardized
tests don't necessarily reflect the new changes in learning and grading and
some teachers say that's a problem.

Elizabeth Whisenant is a 5th grade teacher at
Millbrook Elementary in Raleigh and said, “It was really frustrating at the end
of last year because we haven't seen the EOG (End of Grade) until close to the end
and we didn't have any way to prepare for it.” She's talking about a
standardized test that all her students take every year.

Whisenant is not a fan of the current exam because it doesn't
test the Common Core curriculum she's been teaching all year. “I would prefer
to have the Smarter Balanced, because I feel like it assesses what I've taught.”

Smarter Balanced is one of the exams the State Board of Education
will be reviewing this year to decide if it should be the new standardized test
that measures how much a student has learned. “I think at this point the
emphasis is on gathering information. We have recommended to the board that an
advisory group coming together to dive deep into all the issues around
different assessment options at this point” said Tammy Howard, Director of
Accountability Services at the Department of Public Instruction.

Common Core was instituted as the state curriculum in June
2010 and it teaches students to think in real world situations over just
getting an answer right. “As an educator, I feel Common Core has strongly made
a difference in creating deeper thinkers, more inquirers, and children who can
really holistically think about a situation and apply different strategies”
said Whisenant.

But some critics say, the board should not move ahead with a
more Common Core friendly test. Robert Luebke, Senior Policy Analyst with the
Civitas Institute released this statement to WNCN.

“I
support the State Board of Education's commitment to getting testing
right. Common Core has many problems; the myriad of unanswered questions
surrounding the current assessment efforts is one of the most significant.
 It simply makes no sense to move forward with an assessment
process when we can't be sure what it will cost and if it measures what we
want. Keeping the current testing system a year or two longer while legislators
review Common Core standards and an advisory group studies how best to develop
a fair and valid assessment system is a prudent course of action. And, a
decision Common Core opponents can support.” 

The Department of Public wants to hear from you on the
issue. Go to http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/

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