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NEWS RELEASES 2001-02

NEWS RELEASES 2001-02 :: SEPTEMBER 7, 2001

STATE BOARD GETS GO-AHEAD TO PREPARE ABCS SCHOOL RESULTS

The technical process being used to compute school-by-school performance is sound, and plans to release ABCs results in October can proceed. That was the message given to an ad hoc committee of the State Board of Education today by a panel of technical experts. The panel is working with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to audit the technical and decision-making processes of North Carolina's testing and accountability programs. The ad hoc committee of the Board accepted the report and directed the Department of Public Instruction to proceed with the ABCs report, which is scheduled for release Oct. 4.

Mark Musick, president of SREB in Atlanta, said the panel found that the Department of Public Instruction is using "appropriate and technically sound analyses" to link test scores on new mathematics assessments to those given previously. And, that those analyses can be used to prepare the accountability reports on schools.

Examining the technical process used in the ABCs is the first action of the committee. SREB, working with a panel of technical experts from across the country and the management consulting firm of Align360 from Virginia, will continue to study the testing and accountability program in North Carolina and provide a summary report to the State Board by Dec. 15.

State Board Chair Phil Kirk said the Board is committed to the ABCs accountability program. "The achievement of our students is improving because of the ABCs. We will continue to improve the program over time, but we cannot back away from school accountability. Every student should be performing at grade level or higher, and the ABCs will help us achieve that goal."

State Superintendent Mike Ward and Chairman Kirk called for the audit after mathematics achievement cut scores were set too low this spring. The low cut scores resulted in some students scoring at higher achievement levels than they should have on the end-of-grade math tests in grades 3-8.

With the sign-off of the technical process to equate the new test scores with the old ones, state department officials now will revise the achievement level cut scores and will use the revised scores in determining ABCs results for the 2000-01 school year. It is important to note that the analysis will not affect students who were already promoted in 2001. However, principals will be encouraged to look at the performance of their students as it relates to the new achievement levels to ensure that students get the appropriate help they need to meet higher achievement levels.

Additional committee work over the next few months will include studying events/actions that contributed to the low cut score decision and recommendations for changes to the technical and decision-making processes of the state's testing and accountability program.

For additional information, contact Deputy Superintendent Brad Sneeden at 919.807.3441.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 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 Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.