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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: JUNE 7, 2001


The State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction staff have heard the concerns expressed by educators, parents, members of the General Assembly and the public over the amount of time required for testing. To help ease these concerns, and in light of the tight budget situation, the State Board today approved eliminating three tests beginning in the 2001-02 school year.

The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills sample testing at grades 5 and 8, the Open-Ended Assessments in grades 4 and 8, and the High School Comprehensive Tests in Reading and Mathematics at grade 10 will all be eliminated. The High School Comprehensive Tests in Reading and Mathematics at grade 10 will still have to be given in high schools serving Title I students in that grade unless the state gets approval from the U.S. Department of Education's Title I office.

[North Carolina uses the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation's Report Card, to compare student performance not only with that of the nation but also with other participating states. Currently 40 states participate in NAEP, generally considered to be the most reliable measure of national academic growth. NAEP is given to a sampling of fourth, eighth and 12th grade students in the areas of reading, math, science and writing (eighth grade only). Because North Carolina's curriculum is more closely aligned with NAEP objectives (as opposed to the ITBS), these tests provide a more accurate comparison of student performance.]

"I'm glad that we were able to eliminate these tests without undermining our state's important commitment to accountability," State Board of Education Chairman Phil Kirk said. "Our students have experienced tremendous gains in achievement and we're committed to doing what we have to do to ensure public confidence is maintained."

State Superintendent Mike Ward added, "It's important for the State Board and Department to strike the right balance in the testing program. We must stay focused on the core of our accountability program: annual assessments in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and the core courses in grades 9-12, and an exit exam on line by 2003-04 for the junior class."

Last year, approximately 6,000 students took the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills; 189,414 students took the Open-Ended Assessments, and 77,360 students took the High School Comprehensive Tests in Reading and Mathematics. Eliminating these tests saves the state money associated with test administration, time spent by schools administering the test, and increases time for classroom instruction.

For more information, please contact Henry Johnson, Associate Superintendent for Instructional and Accountability Services, NC Department of Public Instruction, 919.807.3759.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.