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Wake County Board of Education Considers Reducing Number Of Student Tests

Alberto G. via Flickr

The Wake County Board of Education- home to the state's largest school district- wants to cut back on the number of benchmark tests it requires students to take.

The district has been offering three CASE21benchmark tests per year in subjects including math, language arts and science. These assessments have come in addition to the statewide End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests.

"For the past three years, we have provided quarterly benchmarks for the EOG and EOC subject areas. We did them three times a year, and we are now reducing them to once a year," said Cathy Moore, Wake County's Deputy Superintendent for Academic Advancement.

Moore added that reducing the number of district-wide assessments from three to one would help teachers provide more personalized instruction to students during the year.

"The flexibility at the classroom level also provides teachers to tailor the assessments to ensure that wherever they are in the curriculum, that the local assessments can better reflect what teachers need at that time for children." she said.

The proposal comes as education leaders and families in North Carolina push for fewer standardized tests. People who oppose high numbers of standardized tests say they can cause students too much stress, and are being administered to children who are too young to appropriately handle the tests' requirements.

For example, 8th graders in North Carolina spend about 24 hours during the school year being assessed, according to a report from the Department of Instruction. That includes eight hours of locally-required assessments and 16 hours of state and federal required tests.

The Wake County Board of Education will vote on whether to reduce the number of district-wide assessments in its meetingTuesday in Cary at 5:30 p.m.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
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