In the interest of student safety, we are calling for in-person standardized testing to be cancelled for the 2020-21 school year.
Currently in North Carolina, students taking certain high school courses are required to come to school in person for End of Course (EOC) exams and Career and Technical Assessments (CTE), with the test results accounting for at least 20% of their course grade. Testing for fall semester began Monday, December 7, 2020. Students in districts that are maintaining exclusively online programming, or students whose families have chosen virtual learning for the safety of their child, are not exempt.
Given surging COVID-19 levels and community prevalence in North Carolina, the in-person testing requirement creates unnecessary risk and stress to children, families, educators, and our communities. Students and families are forced to choose between risking COVID-19 exposure by taking exams, or delaying the exams and taking an incomplete.
Despite demonstrating broad support for addressing this issue, the North Carolina State Board of Education, Governor Roy Cooper, and leaders in the Legislature have refused to work toward a solution in which in-person test requirements are waived.
On December 9, 2020, North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform held an event to promote awareness of school testing issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WATCH the VIDEO of our PRESENTATION : Stop Mandatory In-Person Standardized Testing During COVID-19. (12-9-2020)
SIGN THE PETITION
- waive the requirement for students to take high school End of Course (EOC) exams
- apply for a waiver from the United States Department of Education for the in-person testing requirement associated with these and other federally mandated, standardized tests.
What Parents Advocates Can Do
Although it is our wish that all in-person EOC and CTE testing be cancelled outright, we present the current options outlined by the North Carolina State Board of Education. The Board’s position is that, short of the Federal government waiving the required tests, in-person testing must be carried out – no exceptions.
The State Board of Education has given districts the following options for the required in-person EOC and CTE testing:
- Delay the Test. A student can take an incomplete for the course and take the test at a later time.
- Adjust the Grading Scale. Districts can set a minimum grade for EOC and CTE exams, thereby minimizing the impact of disrupted learning on student test performance.
So What Do We Do Now?
- Start with your principal and your own PTA
Find out the high school EOC/CTE testing schedule and rules for your specific district. Some schools only allow students to delay into January while others offer the extensions into June.
Relay information to your PTA: 1) ask them to spread the word to help make other parents aware of the testing options, and 2) to rally support for advocacy via your local school board and state-wide.
- Advocate at the level of your school district.
Ask your local school board to allow the maximum flexibility allowable by the State School Board for EOC and CTE testing. Ask for 1) the most generous scheduling delay possible, and 2) an increase in the EOC and CTE grading scale minimum –setting the minimum up to 100 if possible.
On 12-10-2020, the Board of Durham Public Schools voted to set the EOC and CTE grading scale at 90-100. Students can delay exams through June 2021, and they will be guaranteed a minimum grade of 90 when they choose to take the exam.
- Advocate at the State Board of Education level
The North Carolina State Board of Education could
1) mandate a statewide delay of testing, or
2) decrease the amount that the EOC/CTE score counts toward a student’s grade for the course. The current 20% weighting set by the state is believed necessary to give sufficient incentive for student participation, which in turn, allows the state to meet the 95% participation level mandated by the Federal government. However, we feel a 20% weighting on EOC/CTE exams is an unfair burden for students that have experienced non-standard conditions in their coursework and will be subjected to non-standard testing conditions due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Send the members of the State Board of Education a message to let them know your position on in-person testing:
Contacts for the State Board of Education
- Advocate at the Governor’s Office
The Governor has authority over issues that pertain to public safety, particularly on whether it is safe to bring in so many students into a building right now. Contact for Gov.Cooper
- Advocate at the Federal Level
The North Carolina State Board of Education plans to request a waiver for testing from the Federal government but it is likely to be rejected — as has already happened with the request by the State of Georgia earlier this month. However, we as individuals can do our part too. Ask for a waiver of testing: https://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/index.html
SIGN this NATIONAL PETITION asking for the Federal government to waive their standardized testing requirement.
The good news is there is no bad way to advocate. Send an email, send a tweet, give the official a call. All forms are valid and all forms make a difference. By advocating together we show our officials we are united in this cause. Our stories matter, our voices matter, our officials need to hear from us.
12-9-2020 EVENT CO-SPONSORS
EveryChild NC Twitter: @EveryChild_NC
Education Justice Alliance Twitter: @EJAlliance
Pastors for NC Children Twitter: @pastors4nckids
North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform:
Chelsea Bartel: Twitter – @chimpsea
Ilina Ewen: Blog – dirt and noise Twitter – @IlinaP
Susan Book: Blog- therewillbepoop.com ; Twitter- @susan_book
Suzanne Miller: pastorsuzannemiller@gmail ; Twitter- @suzparkermiller
SPECIAL GUEST for the 12-9-2020 EVENT:
Dr. Will Munn Senior Policy Analyst info: https://www.ncjustice.org/author/william-munn/