Information about NC's new accountability standards

NC READY - What Is It?

READY is the name of North Carolina's accountability model, formerly known as the ABC's. READY sets growth and performance standards for each school in the state.

What does READY stand for?

READY is not an acronym; it is a goal. Our goal is to get all students READY for college, careers and adulthood.

In order to get NC students READY for college, careers, and the competitive environment they will face after graduation, the state has upgraded its educational standards, assessments, and accountability methods to meet future expectations.

What are the details?

  • North Carolina has made major changes to its curriculum and testing within the last year. As a result, scores from last year (2012-2013) will be significantly lower than in the past. In addition, we won’t be able to compare the scores to results from previous years because they will measure completely different things. The new scores are expected to be released in early November.
  • Here is a little background: Last year, North Carolina made two major education changes at the same time. Either one by itself would have produced significant differences from previous years, but the two changes together are having a major impact on students, parents, schools, and districts.
  • North Carolina upgraded its curriculum AND changed the way it scores tests. The upgraded curriculum focuses on what students need to know to be ready for college and careers—not just what they need to know for the next grade level. The curriculum will make sure students stay on track and are ready for college and careers by the time they graduate high school. In the end, it will help them learn more during their school careers.
  • Because the new curriculum is more rigorous and expects more from students, scores on the tests will be much lower (at least at first). To make a comparison, it is like adding 20 yards to each end of a football field and asking players to cover 40 more yards to score a touchdown. We know teams will eventually reach the end zone, but the number of points they score will go way down—especially right after the new rule takes effect.
  • The second change affects how North Carolina scores tests. The state is raising the scores students must make in order to be considered proficient. For example, instead of requiring a student to get 40 questions correct to be considered proficient, the state might raise that number to 50. To continue the previous comparison, it would be like saying that on top of going 40 more yards to score a touchdown, teams must also get an extra five yards to make every first down. In reality, the state is raising standards in two different ways at once.
  • The lower scores will NOT mean that your child has done worse than in the past. In fact, working with the upgraded curriculum, it is likely that your child has learned more. However, because the state essentially has pushed back the goal posts and extended the first down markers, it will appear that students and schools have fallen short.
  • Because so many changes have taken place at one time, the state is considering 2012-2013 a transition year between the old and new standards. Therefore, the scores that come out in November will NOT affect students’ grades or current placements. The scores will simply be a baseline for measuring students’ future progress.
  • North Carolina is not alone. New York and Kentucky went through the same process last year and experienced similar declines in test scores. Other states are also raising standards this year and will report similar drops to what we will see in NC.
  • This drop in test scores is normal after new standards are set. It has happened many times in NC and in every state where standards are raised. However, students and schools always adjust. Therefore, even with the longer field, we will end up scoring touchdowns and doing better than ever before.

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