Part 1. Commission on Testing.
§§ 115C-174.1 through 115C-174.6: Repealed by Session Laws 1995, c. 524, s. 1.
§ 115C-174.7. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.8. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.9. Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 2. Statewide Testing Program.
§ 115C-174.10. Purposes of the Statewide Testing Program.
The testing programs in this Article have three purposes: (i) to assure that all high school graduates possess those minimum skills and that knowledge thought necessary to function as a member of society; (ii) to provide a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses in the education process in order to improve instructional delivery; and (iii) to establish additional means for making the education system at the State, local, and school levels accountable to the public for results. (1977, c. 522, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 1995, c. 524, s. 2; 2009-451, s. 7.20(a).)
§ 115C-174.11. Components of the testing program.
(a) Assessment Instruments for Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades. - The State Board of Education shall develop, adopt, and provide to the local school administrative units developmentally appropriate individualized assessment instruments consistent with the Basic Education Program and Part 1A of Article 8 of this Chapter for the kindergarten, first, second, and third grades. Local school administrative units shall use these assessment instruments provided to them by the State Board for kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students to assess progress, diagnose difficulties, and inform instruction and remediation needs. Local school administrative units shall not use standardized tests for summative assessment of kindergarten, first, and second grade students except as required as a condition of receiving federal grants.
(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2009-451, s. 7.20(c), effective July 1, 2009.
(c) Annual Testing Program. -
(1) The State Board of Education shall adopt the tests for grades three through 12 that are required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant. These tests shall be designed to measure progress toward reading, communication skills, and mathematics for grades three through eight, and toward competencies for grades nine through 12. Students who do not pass the tests adopted for eighth grade shall be provided remedial instruction in the ninth grade.
(2) If the State Board of Education finds that additional testing in grades three through 12 is desirable to allow comparisons with national indicators of student achievement, that testing shall be conducted with the smallest size sample of students necessary to assure valid comparisons with other states.
(3) Repealed by Session Laws 2014-78, s. 3(a), effective July 1, 2014.
(4) To the extent funds are made available, the State Board of Education shall plan for and require the administration of the ACT test for all students in the eleventh grade unless the student has already taken a comparable test and scored at or above a level set by the State Board. The State Board of Education shall require the administration of an alternate to the ACT or an alternate to the PLAN precursor test to the ACT to a student who (i) exhibits severe and pervasive delays in all areas of conceptual, linguistic, and academic development and in adaptive behaviors, including communication, daily living skills, and self-care, (ii) is following the extended content standards of the Standard Course of Study as provided in G.S. 115C-81, or is following a course of study that, upon completing high school, may not lead to admission into a college-level course of study resulting in a college degree, and (iii) has a written parental request for an alternate assessment.
The State Board of Education shall ensure that parents of students enrolled in all public schools, including charter and regional schools, have the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding participation in the ACT and the PLAN precursor test to the ACT.
Alternate assessment and ACT assessment results of students with disabilities shall be included in school accountability reports, including charter and regional schools, provided by the State Board of Education.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, the State Board of Education shall not require the public schools to administer any standardized tests except for those required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.
The State Board of Education shall adopt and provide to local school administrative units all tests required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant. (1977, c. 522, s. 1; c. 541, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1983, c. 627, s. 1; 1985, c. 409, ss. 1, 2; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 1987, c. 738, s. 180(a); 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1086, s. 77(a); 1989, c. 778, ss. 4, 5; 1995, c. 524, s. 3; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 18.14; 1998-212, s. 9.15(b); 1998-220, ss. 6, 11; 2000-140, s. 21(a), (b); 2003-275, s. 1; 2004-124, ss. 7.11, 7.27; 2005-458, s. 3; 2009-451, s. 7.20(c); 2010-31, s. 7.30; 2011-8, s. 1; 2011-145, s. 7.30(a); 2011-280, ss. 1, 2.1; 2012-142, s. 7A.1(e); 2013-208, s. 1; 2014-78, s. 3(a).)
§ 115C-174.12. Responsibilities of agencies.
(a) The State Board of Education shall establish policies and guidelines necessary for minimizing the time students spend taking tests administered through State and local testing programs, for minimizing the frequency of field testing at any one school, and for otherwise carrying out the provisions of this Article. These policies and guidelines shall include the following:
(1) Schools shall devote no more than two days of instructional time per year to the taking of practice tests that do not have the primary purpose of assessing current student learning;
(2) Students in a school shall not be subject to field tests or national tests during the two-week period preceding the administration of end-of-grade tests, end-of-course tests, or the school's regularly scheduled final exams; and
(3) No school shall participate in more than two field tests at any one grade level during a school year; [and]
(4) All annual assessments of student achievement adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C-174.11(c)(1) and (3) and all final exams for courses shall be administered within the final 10 instructional days of the school year for year-long courses and within the final five instructional days of the semester for semester courses. Exceptions shall be permitted to accommodate a student's individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. § 794) plans and for the administration of final exams for courses with national or international curricula required to be held at designated times.
These policies shall reflect standard testing practices to insure reliability and validity of the sample testing. The results of the field tests shall be used in the final design of each test. The State Board of Education's policies regarding the testing of children with disabilities shall (i) provide broad accommodations and alternate methods of assessment that are consistent with a student's individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. § 794) plans, (ii) prohibit the use of statewide tests as the sole determinant of decisions about a student's graduation or promotion, and (iii) provide parents with information about the Statewide Testing Program and options for children with disabilities. The State Board shall report its proposed policies and proposed changes in policies to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee prior to adoption.
The State Board of Education may appoint an Advisory Council on Testing to assist in carrying out its responsibilities under this Article.
(b) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be responsible, under policies adopted by the State Board of Education, for the statewide administration of the testing program provided by this Article.
(b1) The Superintendent shall notify local boards of education by October 1 of each year of any field tests that will be administered in their schools during the school year, the schools at which the field tests will be administered, and the specific field tests that will be administered at each school.
(c) Local boards of education shall cooperate with the State Board of Education in implementing the provisions of this Article, including the regulations and policies established by the State Board of Education. Local school administrative units shall use the annual tests to fulfill the purposes set out in this Article.
(d) By September 1 of each year, each local board of education shall notify the State Board of Education of any local testing to be administered to students by the local school administrative unit in its schools and the calendar for administering those tests. The local board of education shall include information on the source of funds supporting the local testing program.
(e) By October 15 of each year, the State Board of Education shall submit a report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee containing information regarding the statewide administration of the testing program, including the number and type of tests and the testing schedule, and a summary of any local testing programs reported by local boards of education to the State Board of Education in accordance with subsection (d) of this section. (1977, c. 522, ss. 4-6; c. 541, ss. 2, 5-7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 1995, c. 524, s. 4; 2001-424, s. 28.17(f); 2002-126, s. 7.30; 2002-159, s. 70; 2005-276, s. 7.37; 2009-451, s. 7.20(d); 2011-145, s. 7.13(q); 2011-391, s. 14(b); 2013-360, s. 9.2(a); 2016-94, s. 8.32(b).)
§ 115C-174.13. Public records exemption.
(a) Until the State Board of Education designates that a test is released, any test developed, adopted, or provided by the State Board of Education, as provided in this Article, is not a public record within the meaning of G.S. 132-1. The State Board of Education may develop rules to allow inspection of a test prior to release, but shall require that individuals inspecting the test meet the same standards for confidentiality required for employees of local boards of education in test administration. As used in this section, the term "test" includes both the test and related test materials.
(b) Any written material containing the identifiable scores of individual students on any test taken pursuant to the provisions of this Article is not a public record within the meaning of G.S. 132-1 and shall not be made public by any person, except as permitted under the provisions of the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g. (1977, c. 522, s. 7; c. 541, s. 8; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 2014-115, s. 49.2.)
§ 115C-174.14. Provisions for nonpublic schools.
All components of the Statewide Testing Program shall be made available to nonpublic schools in the manner prescribed in G.S. 115C-551 and G.S. 115C-559. (1977, c. 522, s. 8; c. 541, s. 9; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a).)
§ 115C-174.15. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.16. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.17. Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 3. Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test Opportunities Encouraged.
§ 115C-174.18. Opportunity to take Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
Every student in the eighth through tenth grades who has completed Algebra I or who is in the last month of Algebra I shall be given an opportunity to take a version of either the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) or the PLAN precursor test to the ACT, at the discretion of the local school administrative unit, one time at no cost to the student. The maximum amount of State funds used for this purpose shall be the cost of the PSAT/NMSQT. (1989, c. 752, s. 77(a); 2005-154, s. 1; 2013-360, s. 8.27(c); 2013-363, s. 3.18.)
§ 115-174.19: Repealed by Session Laws 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 677, s. 5.
§ 115C-174.20: Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.21: Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 4. Student Diagnostic Tests.
§ 115C-174.22. Tools for student learning.
To the extent funds are made available for this purpose, and except as otherwise provided in G.S. 115C-174.11(c)(4), the State Board shall plan for and require the administration of diagnostic tests in the eighth and tenth grades that align to the ACT test in order to help diagnose student learning and provide for students an indication of whether they are on track to be remediation-free at a community college or university. (2011-145, s. 7.30(b); 2011-280, ss. 2, 2.1; 2013-208, s. 2.)
§ 115C-174.23: Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-174.24: Reserved for future codification purposes.
Part 5. Career and College Readiness.
§ 115C-174.25. WorkKeys.
To the extent funds are made available for this purpose, the State Board shall plan for and require local school administrative units to make available the appropriate WorkKeys tests for all students who complete the second level of vocational/career courses. (2011-145, s. 7.30(b); 2011-280, ss. 2, 2.1.)
§ 115C-174.26. Advanced courses.
(a) It is the intent of the State to enhance accessibility and encourage students to enroll in and successfully complete more rigorous advanced courses to enable success in postsecondary education for all students. For the purposes of this section, an advanced course is an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme course. To attain this goal, to the extent funds are made available for this purpose, students enrolled in public schools shall be exempt from paying any fees for administration of examinations for advanced courses and registration fees for advanced courses in which the student is enrolled regardless of the score the student achieves on an examination.
(b) Eligible secondary students shall be encouraged to enroll in advanced courses to expose them to more rigorous coursework while still in secondary school. Successfully completing advanced courses will increase the quality and level of students' preparation for postsecondary career paths and their pursuit of higher education.
(c) The results of student diagnostic tests administered pursuant to G.S. 115C-174.18 and G.S. 115C-174.22, such as the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and ACT, shall be used to identify students who are prepared or who need additional work to be prepared to enroll and be successful in advanced courses. Students may also be identified for potential enrollment in advanced courses based on other criteria established by schools to increase access to those courses for their students.
(d) Local boards of education shall provide information to students and parents on available opportunities and the enrollment process for students to take advanced courses. The information shall explain the value of advanced courses in preparing students for postsecondary level coursework, enabling students to gain access to postsecondary opportunities, and qualifying for scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.
(e) Local boards of education shall ensure that all high school students have access to advanced courses in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Such access may be provided through enrollment in courses offered through or approved by the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
(f) The State Board of Education shall seek a partner, such as the College Board, to form the North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership, hereinafter referred to as Partnership, to assist in improving college readiness of secondary students and to assist secondary schools to ensure that students have access to high-quality, rigorous academics with a focus on access to Advanced Placement courses.
In order to implement its responsibilities under this section, the partner selected by the State Board of Education shall provide staff to do the following:
(1) Provide professional development in the form of support and training to enable teachers of Advanced Placement courses to have the necessary content knowledge, instructional skills, and materials to prepare students for success in Advanced Placement courses and examinations and mastery of postsecondary course content.
(2) Provide administrators, including principals and counselors, with professional development that will enable them to create strong and effective Advanced Placement courses in their schools.
(3) Provide teachers of students in grades seven through 12 with preadvanced course professional development and materials that prepare students for success in Advanced Placement courses.
(4) Provide consulting expertise and technical assistance to support implementation.
(5) Prioritize assistance to schools designated as low-performing by the State Board of Education and provide for frequent visits to the schools targeted by the Partnership.
(g) The Partnership shall report annually to the Department of Public Instruction on the Partnership's implementation of its responsibilities under subsection (f) of this section.
(h) Beginning November 15, 2014, the State Board of Education shall report annually to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on advanced courses in North Carolina. The report shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
(1) The North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership's report to the Department of Public Instruction as required by subsection (g) of this section and the State Board's assessment of that report.
(2) Number of students enrolled in advanced courses and participating in advanced course examinations, including demographic information by gender, race, and free and reduced-price lunch status.
(3) Student performance on advanced course examinations, including information by course, local school administrative unit, and school.
(4) Number of students participating in 10th grade PSATMSQT testing.
(5) Number of teachers attending summer institutes offered by the North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership.
(6) Distribution of funding appropriated for advanced course testing fees and professional development by local school administrative unit and school.
(7) Status and efforts of the North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership.
(8) Other trends in advanced courses and examinations. (2013-360, s. 8.27(b); 2014-5, s. 12; 2014-115, ss. 49.5, 84; 2015-264, s. 60.)