North Carolina State Board of Education Task Force on Summative Assessment

North Carolina State Board of Education
Task Force on Summative Assessment
March 2015
The State Board of Education authorized Chairman William Cobey to establish and appoint the Task Force on
Summative Assessment to explore options for the administration of state summative standardized assessments
for student accountability in the 2016-17 school year and beyond. According to Senate Bill 812 (S.L. 2014-78§
5) the State Board of Education shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by July 15,
2015, on the acquisition and implementation of a new assessment instrument or instruments to assess student
achievement on the academic standards adopted pursuant to G.S. 115C-12(9c). The State Board shall not
acquire or implement the assessment instrument or instruments without the enactment of legislation by the
General Assembly authorizing the purchase. The assessment instrument or instruments shall be nationallynormed, aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, and field tested. Through a thorough
examination of the purpose of federal, state, and local assessment requirements, the Task Force will provide
recommendations to the State Board on a best course of action in reducing the number of assessments for
maximizing instructional time and measuring student learning, as academic standards and assessments must be
Task Force Activities
Since October 2014, the Task Force has convened monthly and accomplished the following:
received a comprehensive overview of current state summative assessments used to meet state and
federal policy mandates and discussed the purpose of student assessment;
reviewed and discussed local interim/benchmark and district-required assessments;
heard recommendations from superintendent, local school board, teacher, and parent organizations
regarding short-term and intermediate/longer-term changes to the state assessment system;
discussed the different summative assessment models, the type of information generated from these test
results, and how the data informs formative as well as interim/benchmark assessment; and
convened in study groups to examine how assessments can best enhance the process of teaching and
learning across elementary, middle, and high school grade spans and created a set of recommendations
based on findings.
introduced a draft proposal that focuses on (1) the use of interim assessments as diagnostic tools at
grades 3 through 8 with the capacity to provide summative data and/or with summative assessments at
predetermined grade levels (dependent on revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act)
and (2) a high school pre/post test model with grade level assessments at grades 9 and 11.
Testing Proposal
At the January 2015 subgroup meetings and at the February 2015 Task Force meeting, a proposal to re-design
the grades 3-8 summative assessments to be interim assessments administered throughout the school year and
the new high school testing model was discussed. Following are the key points regarding this discussion:
The Task Force agreed in principle to further consider the possibility of replacing the current grades 3-8
end-of-grade tests with an interim model that would yield summative information such as proficiency
and growth.
The Task Force agreed in principle that high school end-of-course tests would no longer be used. Pretests and diagnostic assessments would be provided in grades 9 and 10 and a national assessment used
to measure college and career readiness would be administered in grades 11 and 12.
The Task Force noted rationale for the new model is to provide immediate feedback throughout the
school year on student performance rather than the current snapshot of one moment in time provided by
the grades 3-8 end-of-grade tests.
The Task Force recommended developing and releasing a Request for Information (RFI) to determine
the availability and costs of assessments.
The Task Force recommended a pilot to determine if the model will work and to inform the State Board
of Education on the feasibility, with respect to usability, technical quality, and cost. The pilot would be
administered to a representative sample of students to ensure generalizability, and as is the practice, the
processes for a pilot will be shared with the North Carolina Technical Advisors for technical feedback.