The NC State Board of Education’s Task Force on Summative Assessment met on March 13, 2015.
The first model, for grades three through eight, eliminates NC End-of-Grade tests. It replaces them with a system of periodic assessments that, “serves the purpose of guiding teacher instructional practices and promoting student learning along the way.”
If you have an education background, you know these as formative assessments. Formative assessments are more diagnostic, providing real-time information for teachers to improve instruction to better student learning as it happens.
They differ from summative assessments (like End-of-Grade tests). Summative assessments happen at the end – of a unit or a year. They are evaluative, rather than diagnostic. Sometimes, they are compared to an autopsy because the learning period is over. These assessments help a teacher see what happened over the course of a year, unit, or specific class.
There’s some irony here. The Task Force on Summative Assessment is recommending a move to primarily formative assessments.
The second model, for grades nine through twelve, eliminates NC End-of-Course tests. These tests are replaced with, “a pre-test/post-test model with grade level assessments administered at grades 9, 10, and 11.” Grades 9 and 10 would serve as the pre-tests for the last test administered in grade 11. The grade 11 test would measure, “proficiency toward North Carolina academic standards.”
Currently, the ACT suite of assessments is required by NC law to measure college and career readiness, as well as provide school accountability information. NC law also requires the assessments to be national in scope. If a different national suite of assessments is recommended for adoption, state law would need to be changed.
The task force is set to engage in discussions with superintendents and proposed models will go before NC DPI content section chiefs later this month. Additionally, Requests for Information (RFI) will be issued to establish availability and cost of assessment systems.