NC schools worried about reading requirement - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NC schools worried about reading requirement

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Local school superintendents and legislators complained Tuesday about the execution of reading assessment standards third-graders must meet before getting promoted to the next grade, which are stressing out students and teachers alike.
    
The state's top educator sought to ease worries that most of the state's 105,000 third-graders would have to attend reading boot camps this summer and suggested an alternative assessment method was more workable. But Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson acknowledged the new way of doing things was placing new pressure on students and educators to succeed.
    
"I have faith in our teachers," Atkinson said at General Assembly oversight committee. "But at the same time, I recognize the standards are challenging and that the content is more difficult."
    
A 2012 state law championed by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, directed a tough-love approach to help students meet proficiency standards in reading before they can start fourth grade. About 65 percent of North Carolina fourth-graders last year read below proficiency levels on a national exam considered more difficult than recent North Carolina reading tests.
    
The "Read to Achieve" law gives third-graders five paths to meet the promotion requirement in reading. One of those paths has teachers giving as many as 36 mini-tests to some students beginning this month through the end of the school year. The child answers questions based on the passage must pass 70 percent of the time to meet promotion standards.
    
Local school district chiefs told lawmakers this "portfolio" testing requirement got off to a rocky start for their teachers, who are already feeling the weight of other standardized tests and low morale after years without pay raises. The mini-tests are designed to prove students are proficient in each of 12 reading standards.
    
Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps said schools received passages just a few weeks ago that form the basis of the assessments. He said teachers must spend at least 30 minutes three times a week on the assessments. They also question whether the passages are too hard for third-graders.
    
"I will tell you that the portfolio implementation in our county has not been a pleasant experience for teachers or for students," Davie County Schools Superintendent Darrin Hartness told the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations.
    
Students who don't qualify for promotion through one of the five paths would be offered a 6- to 8-week summer reading camp. They would have another chance to advance to the next grade by taking a test after camp or during a combined third- and fourth-grade class next fall. There are some exceptions, such as for children with limited English proficiency.
    
Atkinson said teachers shouldn't be using the portfolio assessment on all children.
    
She said 19 percent of all students scored well enough on a larger reading test at the start of the school year to already qualify for promotion, while another 32 percent of the test takers had scores that showed they could be on their way to meeting the standards with school-year help.
    
The Read to Achieve law allows the State Board of Education to approve alternative assessments proposed by local school districts.  Hartness said 15 Triad-area school districts have proposed an alternative to be considered next week by the board. If approved, it would be available to all 115 districts statewide.
    
Republican legislators pushed back on the department run by Atkinson, a Democrat, accusing the agency of poor communication with districts about the law. "This was foisted upon you at the last minute," Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, told Phipps. "We're at the 11½ hour for something that should have been done 15 or 18 months ago."
    
Legislators talked about teachers in tears over their extra workload and students not wanting to go to school because of the extra tests. Berger, the committee's co-chairman, told colleagues he was committed to ensure children had an opportunity to be successful in school and in life.
    
"The frustration level for our kids is not something that we should tolerate, but the inability to read is not something that we should tolerate either," he said.

  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:26:36 GMT

    The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights to Israel, which it had imposed out of concern over the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights to Israel, which it had imposed out of concern over the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

  • Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:22:38 GMT
    The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Arizona to carry out its third execution in the past year Wednesday following a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs.
    A condemned Arizona inmate gasped for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Teen mom charged after baby found buried at Louisburg home

    Teen mom charged after baby found buried at Louisburg home

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-07-23 03:44:25 GMT
    Ashley Reed, 16, of Louisburg is charged with concealing a death after her infant was found buried beside her house.
    Ashley Reed, 16, of Louisburg is charged with concealing a death after her infant was found buried beside her house.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Couple arrested for having sex on Cortez Beach in front of beachgoers

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:08 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:08:35 GMT
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
    Bradenton Beach police officers were dispatched to Cortez Beach after a few people called 911 and complained about a couple having sex publicly, right next to a little girl on the beach.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.