NC Board of Education Approves Changes To Read to Achieve Mandat - myfoxcarolinas.com

NC Board of Education Approves Changes To Read to Achieve Mandate

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The North Carolina Board of Education approved changes to the controversial Read to Achieve mandate in public schools Thursday. Thirty school districts across the state, including CMS and Cabarrus County Schools, submitted proposals to use alternative assessments to test third graders on their reading skills. The tests are one method used to determine if a student passes third grade. A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction says districts will also have to get approval from their local school boards to use the alternative assessments.

Some educators say Read to Achieve doesn't give teachers the flexibility they once had in deciding which students need to repeat third grade and which ones can move on. Dr. Julie Morrow, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum in the Rowan-Salisbury School System says, "It is frustrating that we don't have some of that local control over meeting the needs of our students."

With few exceptions, if a third grader doesn't pass the End of Grade test or another specific type of assessment, they have to attend summer reading camp, and if they don't pass a re-test at the end of summer school, they have to repeat third grade. Before the new law went into effect, teachers and principals could decide on an individual basis which students needed to be held back.


All of these new requirements can be especially tough for the young people they were designed to help. Nick Anderson, a third grade teacher at Koontz Elementary in Salisbury, says, "The transition from second to third grade is already overwhelming because there's that testing mechanism that kind of throws them off."

Many school districts across the state, including the Rowan-Salisbury School System, want to shorten the required 6-week summer reading camp for third graders who don't pass the End of Grade test. Mary Hemphill, principal of Koontz Elementary, says, "We want to make sure that holistically we're looking at the whole child, academically, emotionally, and that they have time to recoup and regroup, so that they're ready and fresh for a new school year."

The Department of Public Instruction tells My Fox Carolinas any changes to the summer school requirement will have to be approved by state lawmakers and not the board of education.

Third grade is the first year students have to take the End of Grade test.



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