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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: MAY 29, 2007


The State Board of Education is convening an independent Blue Ribbon Commission on Testing and Accountability to provide a comprehensive review of the state's accountability system – including student testing. Dr. Sam Houston, chief executive officer and president of the Science, Math and Technology Center and a former local school superintendent, will chair the Commission.

The Commission will hold its first meeting on May 30 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the 7th Floor Board Room, Education Building, 301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh. Work of the Commission is on a fast track, with a final report and recommendations scheduled to be presented to the State Board of Education by September 2007.

In 1996, North Carolina began a comprehensive school accountability model – the ABCs of Public Education – to set expectations for academic growth and school performance statewide. At the heart of the ABCs are the state's end-of-grade and end-of-course tests given to all students in grades 3-8 and in high school. This system of student testing and school accountability has worked well for many years, but the state Board of Education believes that it is a good time to take a comprehensive look at the accountability system in North Carolina.

"As the State Board of Education moves forward with its 21st century goals for public schools, we believe that it makes strategic sense to evaluate our state's testing and accountability system to make sure it aligns properly with new expectations for student learning," said State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee. “North Carolina's accountability system was cutting edge in 1996, but many things have changed since then. We look forward to a robust review of how we measure student and school success."

The Commission of local educators, legislators, college and university testing/accountability experts and business leaders will explore a number of issues related to the state's public schools' assessment program, including:
- testing requirements in state and federal law and potential modifications;
- the value of state-developed student tests versus commercially available nationally-normed tests; and
- potential modifications to the state's high school, middle school and elementary school accountability systems.

Participating on the committee representing the following areas are:


  • Dr. Sam Houston, chief executive officer and president of the Science, Math and Technology Center, Research Triangle Park

General Assembly:

  • Sen. A.B. Swindell (Nash)
  • Sen. Vernon Malone (Wake)
  • Rep. Earline Parmon (Forsyth)
  • Rep. Susan Fisher (Buncombe)

Local Education Agency Leadership:

  • Dr. Terry Holliday (Superintendent, Iredell-Statesville)
  • Dr. Del Burns (Superintendent, Wake)
  • Dr. Kathi Gibson (Superintendent, Northampton)
  • Dr. Larry Price (Superintendent, Wilson)
  • Dr. James McCormick (Superintendent, Lee)
  • Cathy Boshamer (Exceptional Children's Director, Gaston)
  • Jeff Gorsuch (Testing Director, Buncombe)


  • Craig Hill, (Kinston High School, Lenoir)
  • Nancy Bartles (Independence High School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg)
  • Tammy Bellefeuil (Brevard Elementary, Transylvania)


  • Brian Whitson (Salisbury High School, Rowan)
  • Marylene Tootle, Counselor (Broad Creek Middle, Carteret)
  • James Kurleto (T.C. Henderson Elementary, Transylvania)
  • John Cardarelli (Jefferson Middle, Winston-Salem/Forsyth)

Testing Experts from Colleges and Universities:

  • Dr. Helen Ladd, Duke University
  • Dr. Terry Ackerman, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Other Representatives:

  • Andre Peek, IBM
  • Michael Brader-Araje, TruePilot
  • J. Keith Brown, Vice President, NC Community College System

Scheduled meeting dates for the Commission are:

  • Wednesday, May 30 (11 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, June 5 (9 a.m. - noon)
  • Monday, June 18
  • Monday, July 9
  • Monday, July 23
  • Monday, Aug. 13
  • Monday, Aug. 27

For more information about the Commission, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communications division, 919.807.3450.

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.