TESTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY EXTERNAL AUDIT STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION CHAIRMAN PHIL KIRK AND STATE SUPERINTENDENT MIKE WARD
As the individuals who are primarily charged with developing and implementing policies for the operation of our public schools, we are sincerely concerned by the recent mathematics testing situation. North Carolina's testing and accountability program is a model that has been touted by national organizations as one of the two most comprehensive accountability systems in the entire nation. We are concerned that the reputation of this program has been tarnished by recent problems and we are committed to taking every step necessary to correct any problems identified in an audit of this program. We fully realize the high-stakes of North Carolina's testing and accountability program and understand the critical need for it to be of the highest quality.
For these reasons, we are taking immediate actions to audit North Carolina's testing and accountability program. This audit will involve two key phases: a review of the technical, standard-setting process by national experts in this field and a review of the testing and accountability decision-making processes by an independent body.
We expect the audit to cover the items outlined below, as well as other issues, and to be completed expeditiously. Interim reports will be made to an ad hoc committee of the State Board of Education (SBE) and final reports will be made to the SBE. The Southern Regional Education Board has agreed to work with the ad hoc committee to advise the audit process.
- oversee the equating process for the old and new mathematics tests and the process for setting achievement levels to be used for the 2001-02 school year
- review the process used to field-test, select test items and set cut scores for the testing and accountability program
- review the process used to calculate ABCs school performance
Testing and Accountability Decision-Making Process
- determine what factors led to the mathematics end-of-grade tests scoring problems
- recommend process changes to ensure that similar problems do not occur in the future
- review decision making processes within the Department of Public Instruction and the manner in which the State Board of Education considers and approves policies
We are committed to a very open process in conducting and reporting on the audit. We are confident that the audit and subsequent process changes by the Department and State Board will result in continued improvement of the testing and accountability program and restore confidence in this program.
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.