K-12 officials ask COVID-19 committee for accountability waivers

testing bubble sheet school k-12

RALEIGH — Last week, the North Carolina State Board of Education voted to ask the N.C. General Assembly’s COVID-19 House Select Committee for waivers involving various state education accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 academic year due to the statewide school closures.

Requests and suggestions were presented to the education working group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 on the same day.

The U.S. Department of Education has already approved a waiver from federal accountability rules for North Carolina.

“This does not change our commitment to high standards, effect assessments to inform instruction and an accountability system that drives student achievement,” Chairman Eric Davis said.

A number of reporting requirements will be impacted due to the end-of-grade (EOG) and end-of-course (EOC) exams not being administered. Areas impacted include the state’s A-F school grading scale, school report cards, certain teacher and administrator bonuses, and educator licensure.

Student qualification for summer reading camps and student grade and course promotions will also be affected without legislative intervention.

Waivers are being asked for as a result of the canceled testing, including requirements for any federally required tests, the ACT for 2019-20 school year and administration of WorkKeys for the spring 2020 semester. Waivers will also be needed for the K-3 formative/diagnostic tests which have not yet been completed for the 2019-20 school year, allowing principals to promote students for 3rd grade in the same way as for other grades.

Another request is to waive Read to Achieve reporting requirements and reading camps for 2020. This request comes with a requirement of reading assessments for all 4th-grade students in 2020-21 in order to “provide additional supports.”

Additionally, missing test data and growth data (EVAAS), will hinder identifying schools for the Innovative School District. Recommendations made to the education working group for low performing schools included continuing current identifications for all schools and units based on 2018-19 school year data.

The General Assembly will have to take action to remedy the placement of students in advanced math courses which are based on student scores at the highest level on the prior year’s math EOC/EOG. As those test scores will be unavailable, it was therefore recommended that 2020-21 school year math course placement decisions be made the same way as other courses and should be decided by the school.

Legislative relief was also requested for the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) requirement for the 2019-20 school year that is necessary for graduation.

Principal recruitment bonus recommendations were to decide eligibility for the program in the 2020-21 school year based off of the data from 2018-19.

Included in the requests to the House Select Committee’s education group were those involving teacher and administrator licensure.

It was recommended that licensure testing requirements for beginning teachers who face a June deadline for continuing licenses be waived. With legislative approval, teachers with licenses expiring June 30 would receive a one-year extension until the required tests are passed no later than June 30, 2021.

The state board gave approval for teaching graduates to begin teaching without having passed the required exams with the stipulation that educator preparation programs retain the ability to recommend against licensure in some cases. Pending approval from lawmakers, the 16-week requirement for student teaching would be suspended for student teachers who began work prior to March 16.

Action is also requested for teachers with multi-year contracts that hinge on evaluations. It was recommended that principal candidates be granted a license and allowed to complete exam requirements within the first year of licensure.

For 2019-20, recommendations were made to waive principal notification requirement for EVAAS data and the inclusion of data on teacher effectiveness in the teacher attrition report to be issued in December of this year.

Materials for the April 9 meeting of the education working group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 can be found on the committee’s website.

About A.P. Dillon 298 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_