North Carolina legislators from both parties have denounced the negative effects of high-stakes standardized tests on North Carolina schools and students. But the General Assembly’s own actions continue to make the situation worse. Exhibits 1 and 2: Read to Achieve and A-F school grading.
These pieces of legislation do not increase the number of tests that students must take. But they dramatically raise the consequences attached to those tests. As a result, they have sparked major increases in practice testing, test prep, and test-related stress, making it far more difficult for North Carolina students to develop the love of learning they will need to carry them through life.
The most immediate and effective way for North Carolinians to reduce the negative effects of testing on our students, schools and teachers is to convince our state legislators to repeal these two measures and replace them with strategies that genuinely help children learn.
Both Read to Achieve and A-F grading were pushed through the General Assembly in a manner that allowed for little discussion or debate. As a result, many legislators have not considered them in detail. Much of our work will involve informing legislators about the negative effects both Read to Achieve and A-F grading are having on North Carolina students.
MecklenburgACTS.org will be sending out information about statewide efforts in coming weeks. In the meantime, we have compiled information on problems with the Read to Achieve legislation here. An account of the problems with A-F grading can be found here. Teachers and principals should be able to provide plenty of additional information about the effect of these two pieces of legislation on individual schools.
Succeeding in this task will require grassroots efforts in individual schools, communities and legislative districts. If you would like to help with this effort in your school or community, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.