on November 3, 2000
NC and testing
Greetings from Durham, North Carolina
I am Everly Broadway, Math Coordinator, and PI of Realizing Achievement
in Mathematics Performance (RAMP), a K-12 LSC in Durham, NC. The North
Carolina state accountability system is high stakes with financial
awards for the winners and humiliation for the losers. I have mixed
feelings about the system. On the one hand, it has forced us to expect
at least a minimum standard for every child. It should not have taken
legislation to do this. On the other hand, the frenzy of the testing
can certainly obscure inquiry based instruction.
My approach is to use the power of THE TEST when possible, yet to warn
against it at the same time. North Carolina administers multiple choice
tests in reading and math at every grade level 3 to 8, and again in
grade 10. We have end of year assessment booklets in mathematics at
grades K, 1, & 2. We test in writing at grades 4,7, and 10. We do not
test science and social studies until the high school years. Our LSC
team has created pacing charts which align with benchmark tests that we
have created. These benchmark tests are look alike tests to the North
Carolina state tests. I cringe about this, but the clincher is this:
the pacing charts prescribe the use of our NSF supported standards-based
math programs. In this way we use the power of the testing frenzy to
support the implementation of the curriculum.
In the same manner, when our state and district demanded portfolio
assessment for every child, we are making sure that all standard
performance pieces are aligned with our pacing chart and blend with the
assessment pieces from our standards based curriculum.
I simply think that students who have experienced a thinking based math
curriculum can deal with these tests. They can reason which multiple
choice answers don t make sense. Although I don t love these tests, I
see no reason to spend a ton of energy fighting them right now. I do
work on state committees and collect feedback from the teachers to pass
on to the decision makers, etc., but I don t fight this battle
constantly with my administration.
I m looking forward to further discussion.
Everly Broadway (North Carolina)