Testing Reduction Act to begin in 2020-2021 school year
Starting next school year, students will start seeing less state testing.
Governor Roy Cooper signed the Testing Reduction Act of 2019 into law. The act is supposed to eliminate 20 North Carolina Final Exams, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate all end-of-the-school-year testing.
Starting in the 2020-2021 school year, North Carolina Final Exams, or NCFEs, will be removed as part of the statewide testing program to assess teacher performance and professional growth. They are given from third grade to high school. The act will also prohibit projects such as stopping school boards from requiring a graduation project as a condition of graduation.
Students will still be required to take end of the course, or EOC, exams.
Lenoir County Associate Superintendent of Curriculum Frances Herring says, “They won’t have a state test, a high stakes state exam, in science and social studies. I’m sure that will be very well received."
Herring says standardized testing has been done since the beginning of time. She says it’s important because they use it to see what the students know at the end of the year.
Herring said, “It doesn’t mean that we don’t need some understanding of how well a student has performed at the end of a class.”
Some argue that students with test anxiety may benefit from less state exams. Joseph Berdmarz’s son is in 10th grade, and he feels as though teachers should be more involved with testing.
“Teachers need to have more input into—‘ok, this is where my students are, this is what I’m testing them at, this is the information I’m teaching them at.’ Having a state test saying, ‘Ok, here’s the information that we want you to know’, isn’t necessarily saying you have the best information out there to receive,” Bedmarz said. “Teachers have to have a lot more input in testing. And I would rather see teachers give an exam rather than just a standardized test given saying, ‘OK, pass or fail.’”
However, Bedmarz says testing does not stop in the school system but continues in the workforce, so completely getting rid of testing won’t help.
“If you are having trouble with tests, it’s something you need to work on because moving forward in jobs and everything, you will be tested for your skills,” said Bedmarz.
Though Herring says the curriculum isn’t changing, no student should be judged simply from a test.
“It doesn’t measure who you are as a person. It doesn’t measure how smart you are. It doesn’t measure what you can learn. It’s just how did you do that day,” Herring said.
Herring says they are working with teachers to teach students test-taking skills.