For students and parents, wait for end-of-grade test scores gets longer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

SALISBURY — Though local public school students finished the last of their end-of-grade tests this week, they won’t know the results until they’re well into their next year of school.
For grades three through eight, no students will be retested this year, and parents will not receive their child’s test scores until October.
That means this year’s scores won’t affect whether or not students advance to the next grade, said Rowan-Salisbury School System spokeswoman Rita Foil.
“Although there is no immediate impact from this year’s testing, the results will become part of the student’s record,” Foil wrote in an email to the Post. “The test results will be used to show student growth.”
In May, the system sent a notice to parents of students in third through eighth grades explaining the changes in testing.
This year, a new North Carolina “core curriculum” was taught in those grade levels for English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
Along with the new curriculum comes new state standardized tests, which have been administered over the past couple of weeks in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
“The first priority when administering new assessments is to ensure the results are valid and reliable,” the notice said.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) will be reviewing and analyzing the test data over the summer.
According to the notice, the State Board of Education is expected to approve the scores and achievement levels in October 2013. That’s when parents will receive their child’s 2013 Test Score Report, which would normally come at the end of the school year.
“Because of this delay, teachers and principals will use the results from other available student information to assign final grades and to make grade placement decisions,” the notice said.
Foil said this year’s testing will have no bearing on whether a student is promoted to the next grade level.
“There is more than one measurement involved with determining a student’s final performance,” she wrote.
That includes a student’s grades on classroom tests and other schoolwork throughout the year. Foil did not specify other measures of student performance that may be used.
Once a decision is made to either let a student continue on to the next grade or hold them back, that decision is final, she said. It won’t be changed if an unexpected passing or failing grade is revealed in the fall.
Instead, the scores will be kept on file and used in the future to evaluate each student’s growth.
People with questions about the delay in test scores, assignment of grades or grade placement for next year are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher or the school principal.