The NC final exam may soon be a thing of the past for some students in North Carolina. A bill sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), HB 90, “Eliminate NC Final Exam” would remove the results from students’ grades on end of year final exams from being a part of the process used to evaluate teacher performance.
Elmore explained his bill on the floor of the House on March 22. He told the House members that there is an outcry from parents on the amount of testing that we have in schools. “What this bill will do is eliminate some of the standardized tests that we’re currently conducting that are not used in our report to the federal government,” Elmore said. “It will not affect any of the tests that are required by the federal government.”
Elmore said that his bill had unanimous support when it was heard in the House Education K-12 Committee. WFMY reported on March 21, the day the committee heard the bill, “A House education committee voted Tuesday to get rid of state-created final exams for a host of subjects, leaving it to teachers to create final tests for their students next fall. The measure would leave in place end-of-grade and certain end-of-course tests that federal law requires.”
The report also noted Elmore as suggesting test scores on the statewide final exams being considered for elimination are not being used well to set statewide policy.
The bill states “The State Board of Education shall eliminate the use of the NC Final Exam and the analysis of student work process, and shall prohibit use of local final examinations or an analysis of student work process to assess teacher performance and professional growth as part of the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation System.”
— Craig Smith (@CSmithGoBlue) May 6, 2017
In an environment of growing concern over too many standardized tests, the bill provides a measure of relief. The Bush administration-era “No Child Left Behind” law ushered in a wave of standardized, federally required tests, especially for children in elementary and middle school.
Common Core, wildly controversial in North Carolina, came with its own barrage of assessments and testing. The pushback against Common Core and against the numerous tests that students are required to take has been mounting.
Congress replaced “No Child Left Behind” with the “Every Student Succeeds Act” in 2015. While it left in place reading and math testing for children in grades K-8, it relaxed many of the other testing requirements that were under the previous law.
A second part of HB 90 has not received nearly the attention as the testing part. It calls for the State Board of Education to develop and implement a mentoring program for teachers entering the profession.
The bill passed in the House 117-1 and was sent to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee.