Wake Ed

February 7, 2014

Wake County school board to affirm support for using local tests to meet Read To Achieve requirements

To comply with State Board of Education requirements, the Wake County school board will vote Saturday on a resolution affirming it backed the request from administrators to use local tests to meet Read To Achieve promotion requirements.

The Wake County school board isn’t taking any chances about making sure it can use its local tests to show third-grade students are meeting the state’s Read to Achieve promotion requirements.

The school board amended its Saturday agenda to include an action item giving board support for the request from administrators to use the CASE 21 tests as part of the Read to Achieve process. The school board is in the midst of a two-day planning retreat at White Deer Park Nature Center in Garner.

The State Board of Education had voted Thursday to allow 30 school districts – including Wake – to use local assessments to meet the Read to Achieve requirements showing that students are proficient in reading. But some state board members expressed concerns that the superintendents who made the requests hadn’t gotten the support of their local boards.

As part of the motion approved Thursday, the State Board said that the 30 districts had to show that:

(1) the request has been approved by the local board of education and is signed by the local board chair; and

(2) the request contains a statement verifying that the local board of education has determined that the requested Alternative Assessment is a valid and reliable standardized assessment of reading comprehension and demonstrates that a student is reading at or above the third grade level as required by the Read to Achieve Law.

Wake school board chairwoman Christine Kushner said that they wanted the board to vote at noon Saturday “to start giving teachers more options on Monday.”

Wake school administrators had made their plan to exempt the majority of the 12,109 third-grade students from going through the reading portfolio process and its 36 minitests contingent on state approval Thursday.

Todd Wirt, Wake’s assistant superintendent for academics, had told the school board on Tuesday that elementary schools were told to continue using the portfolios for all third-grade students until notified otherwise by the district.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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