*Update* After this post was written, the subsequent meetings of the NCGA Common Core Study Committee were pushed forward, and the Common Core Study Committee will now conclude before the beginning of the short session (final meeting scheduled for April 24).
Since the Common Core Study Committee will not conclude until after this year‘s NCGA session, and the committee chairmen have yet to put forward any proposal for the reversal of Common Core mandates in the interim, we have drafted a piece of legislation that could be used by any member willing to make the motion to repeal the Common Core mandates.
The purpose of repealing the mandates immediately is so that local boards are not forced to continue implementation and participation while the issue is still being studied. If upon completion of their study, the Common Core Study Committee finds that there are things that they do like about Common Core and wish to keep, they can then propose in a transparent and knowledgeable manner that the aspects that they like be re-added to the statutes. It would be preferable, though, and in keeping with “local controls” if the legislator asked their local board to adopt any aspects that they like so that the state is not placing mandates on local boards and eliminating input from residents on their local district’s education decisions.
Below is language for repealing Common Core mandates from the statutes. The proposed amendments to Article 10A of Chapter 115C aim to achieve the following:
- Remove mandates placed upon the local education districts and upon the State Board of Education to continue Common Core testing
- Remove mandates on required testing, while still providing developmentally appropriate assessment instruments to districts that choose to use them (115C-174.11(a), 115C-174.11(c-d), 115C-174.18, 115C-174.22)
- Remove ACT-alignment mandates from the provided student assessment instruments, as ACT, inc. is an active partner with NGA and CCSSO, and ACT assessments are aligning to Common Core standards (115-C-174.22)
- Allow for the State Board of Education to administer some testing, with voluntary cooperation of local districts, for the purpose of allowing for comparisons with national indicators of student achievement while maintaining that such testing be conducted only on the smallest sample size necessary for such purposes. (115C-174.11(c)(2))
*Note: it has been stated by legislators that the fy2014 budget does this already by prohibiting the purchase of Common Core assessment devices, eliminating the Common Core mandated tests. This is not the case, though, as the end of course tests have continued (with another round of them just taken last month) even after the intended budget prohibitions. Perhaps the reason for this is that the budget specifies no new Common Core assessments, but NC has already been using the Common Core end of course tests. As it stands, the end of course tests will continue and they are Common Core-aligned. If the budget prohibitions are already meant to eliminate the Common Core testing (and the prohibitions have failed), then there should be no problem with removing the mandated Common Core assessments from the general statutes, in order to fix the conflicting language.
Also of note: The removal of Common Core mandates from NCGS does not eradicate Common Core standards from North Carolina – removing the mandates gives local districts the choice to opt out of Common Core participation or to continue with the standards & associated curriculum.
Please join me in asking NCGA legislators and Common Core study committee members to support and propose legislation to repeal Common Core now!:
Repeal Common Core Mandates
An Act to Reverse the Implementation of Common Core Testing Mandates Within North Carolina General Statutes and to Enable North Carolina Parents, Teachers, and Local Districts to Reclaim Control Over Education
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
Article 10A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended to read:
Part 1. Commission on Testing.
§§ 115C-174.1 through 115C-174.6: Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 524, s. 1.
§ 115C-174.7. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.8. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.9. Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 2. Statewide Testing Program.
§ 115C-174.10. Purposes of the Statewide Testing Program.
The testing programs in this Article have three purposes: (i) to assure that all high school graduates possess those minimum skills and that knowledge thought necessary to function as a member of society; (ii) to provide a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses in the education process in order to improve instructional delivery; and (iii) to establish additional means for making the education system at the State, local, and school levels accountable to the public for results. (1977, c. 522, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 1995, c. 524, s. 2; 2009-451, s. 7.20(a).)
§ 115C-174.11. Components of the testing program.
(a) Assessment Instruments for Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades. – The State Board of Education shall develop, adopt, and provide to the local school administrative units developmentally appropriate individualized assessment instruments consistent with the Basic Education Program and Part 1A of Article 8 of this Chapter for the kindergarten, first, second, and third grades. Local school administrative units
shall may use these assessment instruments provided to them by the State Board for kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students to assess progress, diagnose difficulties, and inform instruction and remediation needs. Local school administrative units shall not use standardized tests for summative assessment of kindergarten, first, and second grade students except as required as a condition of receiving federal grants.
(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2009-451, s. 7.20(c), effective July 1, 2009.
(c) Annual Testing Program. -
(1) The State Board of Education shall adopt the tests for grades three through 12 that are required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant. These tests shall be designed to measure progress toward reading, communication skills, and mathematics for grades three through eight, and toward competencies for grades nine through 12. Students who do not pass the tests adopted for eighth grade shall be provided remedial instruction in the ninth grade.
(2) If the State Board of Education finds that
additional testing in grades three through 12 is desirable to allow comparisons with national indicators of student achievement, that testing shall be conducted with the smallest size sample of students necessary to assure valid comparisons with other states. (3) The State Board of Education shall continue to participate in the development of the Common Core State Standards in conjunction with the consortium of other states, review all national assessments developed by both multistate consortia, and implement the assessments that the State Board deems most appropriate to assess student achievement on the Common Core State Standards. (4) To the extent funds are made available, the State Board of Education shall plan for and require the administration of the ACT test for all students in the eleventh grade unless the student has already taken a comparable test and scored at or above a level set by the State Board. The State Board of Education shall require the administration of an alternate to the ACT or an alternate to the PLAN precursor test to the ACT to a student who (i) exhibits severe and pervasive delays in all areas of conceptual, linguistic, and academic development and in adaptive behaviors, including communication, daily living skills, and self-care, (ii) is following the extended content standards of the Standard Course of Study as provided in G.S. 115C-81, or is following a course of study that, upon completing high school, may not lead to admission into a college-level course of study resulting in a college degree, and (iii) has a written parental request for an alternate assessment.The State Board of Education shall ensure that parents of students enrolled in all public schools, including charter and regional schools, have the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding participation in the ACT and the PLAN precursor test to the ACT.
Alternate assessment and ACT assessment results of students with disabilities shall be included in school accountability reports, including charter and regional schools, provided by the State Board of Education.
Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the The State Board of Education shall not require the public schools to administer any standardized tests except for those required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.
The State Board of Education shall adopt and provide to local school administrative units all tests required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.
§ 115C-174.12. Responsibilities of agencies.
(a) The State Board of Education shall establish policies and guidelines necessary for minimizing the time students spend taking tests administered through State and local testing programs, for minimizing the frequency of field testing at any one school, and for otherwise carrying out the provisions of this Article. These policies and guidelines shall include the following:
(1) Schools shall devote no more than two days of instructional time per year to the taking of practice tests that do not have the primary purpose of assessing current student learning;
(2) Students in a school shall not be subject to field tests or national tests during the two-week period preceding the administration of end-of-grade tests, end-of-course tests, or the school’s regularly scheduled final exams; and
(3) No school shall participate in more than two field tests at any one grade level during a school year; [and]
(4) All annual assessments of student achievement adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C-174.11(c)(1) and (3) and all final exams for courses shall be administered within the final 10 instructional days of the school year for year-long courses and within the final five instructional days of the semester for semester courses. Exceptions shall be permitted to accommodate a student’s individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. § 794) plans and for the administration of final exams for courses with national or international curricula required to be held at designated times.
These policies shall reflect standard testing practices to insure reliability and validity of the sample testing. The results of the field tests shall be used in the final design of each test. The State Board of Education’s policies regarding the testing of children with disabilities shall (i) provide broad accommodations and alternate methods of assessment that are consistent with a student’s individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. § 794) plans, (ii) prohibit the use of statewide tests as the sole determinant of decisions about a student’s graduation or promotion, and (iii) provide parents with information about the Statewide Testing Program and options for children with disabilities. The State Board shall report its proposed policies and proposed changes in policies to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee prior to adoption.
The State Board of Education may appoint an Advisory Council on Testing to assist in carrying out its responsibilities under this Article.
(b) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be responsible, under policies adopted by the State Board of Education, for the statewide administration of the testing program provided by this Article.
(b1) The Superintendent shall notify local boards of education by October 1 of each year of any field tests that will be administered in their schools during the school year, the schools at which the field tests will be administered, and the specific field tests that will be administered at each school.
(c) Local boards of education shall cooperate with the State Board of Education in implementing the provisions of this Article, including the regulations and policies established by the State Board of Education. Local school administrative units
shall may use the annual tests to fulfill the purposes set out in this Article. Local school administrative units are encouraged to continue to develop local testing programs designed to diagnose student needs.
§ 115C-174.13. Public records exemption.
Any written material containing the identifiable scores of individual students on any test taken pursuant to the provisions of this Article is not a public record within the meaning of G.S. 132-1 and shall not be made public by any person, except as permitted under the provisions of the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g. (1977, c. 522, s. 7; c. 541, s. 8; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a).)
§ 115C-174.14. Provisions for nonpublic schools.
All components of the Statewide Testing Program shall be made available to nonpublic schools in the manner prescribed in G.S. 115C-551 and G.S. 115C-559. (1977, c. 522, s. 8; c. 541, s. 9; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a).)
§ 115C-174.15. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.16. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.17. Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 3. Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test Opportunities Encouraged.
§ 115C-174.18. Opportunity to take Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
Every student in the eighth through tenth grades who has completed Algebra I or who is in the last month of Algebra I shall be given an opportunity to take a version of either the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) or the PLAN precursor test to the ACT, at the discretion of the local school administrative unit, one time at no cost to the student. The maximum amount of State funds used for this purpose shall be the cost of the PSAT/NMSQT. (1989, c. 752, s. 77(a); 2005-154, s. 1; 2013-360, s. 8.27(c); 2013-363, s. 3.18.)
§ 115-174.19: Repealed by Session Laws 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 677, s. 5.
§ 115C-174.20: Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.21: Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 4. Student Diagnostic Tests.
§ 115C-174.22. Tools for student learning.
To the extent funds are made available for this purpose, and except as otherwise provided in G.S. 115C-174.11(c)(4), the State Board shall plan for
and require the administration of diagnostic tests in the eighth and tenth grades that align to the AC T test in order to help diagnose student learning and provide for students an indication of whether they are on track to be remediation-free at a community college or university. Part 5. Career Readiness. § 115C-174.25. WorkKeys. To the extent funds are made available for this purpose, the State Board shall plan for and require local school administrative units to make available the appropriate WorkKeys tests for all students who complete the second level of vocational/career courses.