NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: OCTOBER 8, 2010


The State Board of Education yesterday approved a new student and school accountability model to begin in 2013-14 that focuses on college and career readiness. These changes are part of the state's Career & College: Ready, Set Go! plan for education in North Carolina.

The new model - under development for more than two years - has two primary purposes: diagnosing student learning to ensure students are on track academically and providing school accountability. Five indicators were approved for school accountability purposes: student performance (end-of-grade/end-of-course assessments), measures of college readiness, student academic growth, the five-year cohort graduation rate and the rigor of students' high school mathematics course selections.

To ensure students are on track academically, new types of ongoing, informal assessments will be in place to help teachers better spot student learning problems early and to adjust instruction accordingly.

"We are very excited about the new accountability model because it will further our aim of Career & College: Ready, Set, Go! for every student in North Carolina," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "This new model brings a high level of relevance to students and their families. That is where our focus should be."

As part of the learning diagnostic tools, the new model will use some measure of college readiness, such as a college admissions test, at the 11th grade. This means that every student in North Carolina will take a college admissions exam at no cost to them or their families. Students in grades 8 and 10 will take some preliminary college readiness tests to ensure that they are on track for college and career readiness and to have diagnostic information about their deficiencies. Students who are not college-ready at 11th grade will have an opportunity to participate in an academic camp during the summer before their senior year to boost their college readiness.

Students in 12th grade also will take the Compass assessment. Compass is a widely used community college placement test used to evaluate entering community college students' skill levels.

"Our goal is to be sure that we prepare every student for success without remediation at the community college or at the four-year college and university level, as they choose," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "That is our commitment to students and to communities in our state."

"This new model is more relevant for students and schools," said Jack Hoke, Alexander County Schools' superintendent and advisor to the State Board of Education. "This model will serve students better and will give us more useful information than the current ABCs model."

Approving the elements of the new accountability model is the first step toward implementation in 2013-14. Decisions yet to be made include how each element of the accountability model - student performance, post-secondary readiness, student growth, graduation rate and course rigor - will be weighted and how schools will be recognized for high performance levels. These decisions will be considered and made in future months.

For more information, please contact the NCDPI Communication & Information Services Division at 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 160 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.