Wake Ed

Wake County wants to use CASE 21 tests for Read To Achieve program

The Wake County school system could get state permission this week that would allow it to scrap 36 planned mini-tests and provide another option to help third-grade students get promoted.

As noted in today’s article, Wake is one of 28 school districts that want to use existing local assessments that would show that third-grade students are meeting the Read to Achieve proficiency requirements. The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Thursday on the proposals.

In Wake’s case, school administrators want to use the CASE 21 assessments. This would give Wake an option to use instead of the 36 mini-assessments that are part of the reading portfolio process.

Click here to read the explanation from Wake and the other 27 districts for what they want to use. The State Board of Education is putting the proposals on a fast track with action on first reading instead of the typical process of taking two months for approval.

Click here and here for some descriptions about the CASE assessments.

Last month, State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson sent a memo to districts encouraging them to submit local assessments they could use to show students are at grade level in reading.

As noted in last week’s article by Lynn Bonner, these local alternatives are a way to reduce the number of students who could be held back. Despite the talk of ending social promotion, the thought of widespread retentions is scaring legislators as well as school officials.

Ellis Hankins, a Lacy Elementary School parent, had cited the CASE 21 assessments at the Jan. 21 Wake school board meting as an alternative Wake should consider using to the reading portfolios. He had also cited another memo that Atkinson sent to districts last month telling them it’s not appropriate to use the reading portfolios for all students.

As part of the memo, Atkinson said that students who had a scale score of 442 or higher have demonstrated proficiency and have met the reading comprehension requirements in Read to Achieve. They still have to take the end-of-grade exam though.

According to school officials, 3,665 of Wake’s 12,110 third-grade students, or 30 percent, had a scale score of 442 or higher.

When the results went home in December, it startled some parents. School officials said they shouldn’t worry because the test is meant to show what a third-grade student should know at the end of the year.