North Carolina school districts can now use reading tests of their own choosing to decide whether a third-grader must go to a summer reading camp or can go on to fourth grade. The State Board of Education approved the districts’ request today.
Students already take many of these tests to chart their progress during the year. Superintendents hope the change will ease some of the testing under the new third grade reading law.
“The approval of these alternative assessments is one of the tools in the toolkit for demonstrating promotion to the fourth grade,” says Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.
The others include end-of-year tests and a series of 36 short exams called a reading portfolio taken over several months. Superintendents had warned the reading portfolios could take up a lot of teaching time. They expect districts to rely less on these portfolios, now that they’re allowed to use the alternative tests.
All school districts have the option of using alternative tests, if local boards show they reliably demonstrate third-grade reading ability.