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EDUC NC elementary teachers getting another chance to pass state-mandated math test
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    NC elementary teachers getting another chance to pass state-mandated math test

    I would prefer to use the CRIME PREFIX

    NC elementary teachers getting another chance to pass state-mandated math test
    Updated: Aug 10, 2018

    A test question (Dedrick russell/WBTV)

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Some North Carolina elementary school teachers were initially told they would lose their jobs if they didn't pass a math test they call difficult and unfair.

    Teachers say they recently got a call from their school district informing them they have another year to pass the test. Hundreds of teachers have failed the test repeatedly. (2400 teachers per Charlotte Observer)
    Teachers argue what's on the test has nothing to do with what they teach in a classroom for students in kindergarten to 5th grade.

    "Never in a million years would we even come close to teaching some of the topics on this test," veteran CMS teacher Krista Ricks said.

    Ricks has been in touch with several teachers who are concerned about the test. They believe the outcome of the test doesn't prove effecting instruction.

    "Can you see what a child is doing and correct it? Not 'can you spit out answers to algorithms?'" Ricks said.

    The North Carolina State Board of Education adopted a new test called the Pearson Test a few years ago for elementary educators. It has not gone well for teachers. The pass rate for the new exam shows a steady decrease in how many teachers are passing. In the 2014-2015 school year, the pass rate was 65.1 percent. In the 2016-2017 school year, the pass rate dropped to 54.5 percent.

    "I am very concerned that we've had three consecutive years of an increasing failure rate on the test," N.C. State Representative Craig Horn said. "Why have we not learned from that? I don't know those answers, and I want those answers."

    Horn says a committee will examine the new test to see if it's fair. He wants teachers to take a breath and focus on their craft while a solution can be found.

    "No one's going to lose their job," Horn said. "We are going to find whether or not we have the right test - whether or not the test is effectively showing us the right outcomes."

    Teachers say they prefer the old test - Praxis 5015. Teachers had a pass rate of nearly 90 percent from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. Teachers believe that to prove they are effective, they should be judged on more than a test.

    "I think we definitely need to put in place other measures," Ricks said. "Measures that are more suited for the elementary school teacher."

    Some teachers say they have taken the test multiple times and have had to pay about $100 each time. Teachers have also taken tutorial classes costing about $150. Some are beginning to feel hopeless if this test remains.

    "They are disheartened, they are frustrated. Some of them have decided to withdraw from teaching. We are losing really good teachers," Ricks said. "We've got teachers who are getting bonuses from the State - a pat on the back - we noticed your growth. You're in the top 25% of the State, but yet you didn't pass the test."

    The fear is that good teachers could now go to South Carolina and Virginia where the test in question is not administered.

    For more on the test, click here. ->

    Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina

    Hundreds of NC teachers are flunking math exams. It may not be their fault.

    By Ann Doss Helms

    According to a report, almost 2,400 North Carolina elementary school teachers have failed the math portion of their licensing exams, which puts their careers in jeopardy.
    Almost 2,400 North Carolina elementary school teachers have failed the math portion of their licensing exams, which puts their careers in jeopardy, since the state hired Pearson publishing company to give the exam in 2013, according to a report presented to the state Board of Education Wednesday.

    Failure rates have spiked as schools around the state struggle to find teachers for the youngest children. Education officials are now echoing what frustrated teachers have been saying: The problem may lie with the exams rather than the educators.

    Teachers in Florida and Indiana have also seen mass failures when their states adopted Pearson testing, according to news reports from those states. Concern about the validity of the Pearson licensing exams is so pervasive that it was discussed at this year’s National Education Association conference, said North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell.

    “I hope this doesn’t lead to a mass exodus of new teachers and exacerbate our shortages,” he said.

    The Board of Education, which last month granted beginning teachers an extra year to pass, plans to review the Pearson exams to see if the tests are actually measuring skills needed to teach elementary students effectively, or whether they’re gauging math that’s generally taught in higher grades.

    Jamie Duda, who spent the past year teaching language arts in a Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary school, believes it’s the latter. Two years ago, after getting her degree from the Arizona-based University of Phoenix, she passed her Arizona licensing exams on the first try. In North Carolina, she passed the reading and general curriculum portions. But she failed math.

    Duda says she has one child who just graduated from high school and one in ninth grade. The older child “took honors and AP math classes and could not help me on some of the practice questions,” Duda said, while the younger said he didn’t expect to learn some of the material until 11th grade.

    “I am confused as to why I am being tested extremely above the math level of my degree,” said Duda, who says CMS didn’t hire her for 2018-19 because of the failing grade, even though she got “great evaluations” during her first two years of teaching.

    Before 2014, new elementary teachers had to pass state exams, known as the Praxis, before they could start work. Those pass rates hovered around 85 percent or higher, according to a presentation given to the Board of Education Wednesday afternoon. After that they had to take reading, math and general curriculum exams, all provided by the for-profit publishing company Pearson, and pass them by the end of their second year of teaching.

    Math has proven to be a stumbling block, said Tom Tomberlin, director of school research, data and reporting for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The first year only 65 percent of teachers passed the new “foundations of math” exam, falling to 54.5 percent by 2016-17, the most recent year reported.

    During the first three years of the Pearson exam, that represented 2,386 failures.

    What the state doesn’t know is how many teachers failed one year but passed the next year. The reporting requirements have now been changed to make that possible to track.

    Tomberlin said he didn’t make the decision, but he believes the state chose the Pearson exams because Massachusetts was using them.

    “We take (the licensure tests) from Pearson because they’re established and they’re a reputable company,” Tomberlin told the board. “We haven’t done the work of seeing whether they’re meeting our needs in North Carolina.”

    Rutherford County Schools Superintendent Janet Mason, who serves as a board adviser, said she understands the concerns. But she also noted that elementary teachers need to understand higher math well enough to teach the concepts that will build the foundation for success in higher grades.

    Tomberlin agreed: “It’s too simplistic to say, ‘I’m a kindergarten teacher. I don’t need to know middle school math or high school math.’ ”

    Pearson defended its exam in a statement to the Observer, saying the company has worked with the Department of Public Instruction to implement the exam.

    “Test scores required for passing are determined by the State and are informed by recommendations from North Carolina educators resulting from standard setting activities,” Scott Overland, Pearson’s director of media relations, said in a statement. “Pearson does not place any artificial barriers in the way of candidate success and only considers test scores as criteria for passage.”

    In July, the state board voted to give school districts the option of keeping teachers on for one more year, allowing them more time to pass the licensing exams. Board member Olivia Oxendine and state Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin, who serves as an adviser to the board, both said they’re hearing about strong elementary teachers who can’t pass the math test.

    Katie Steele, a special education teacher in Alexander County, said she graduated from Appalachian State with honors in 2015, has received “wonderful evaluations” and was named her county’s first-year teacher of the year. But she’s able to keep teaching next year only because of the extension.

    “Many of us have taken each one 3-4 times each,” she wrote in an email. “There seems to be a magic number of about 4 times per test before Pearson ‘passes’ you.”

    Steele said she attended a training session to help her pass the math exam: “I sat and cried in this training with TONS of other beginning teachers who can’t pass these tests.” She’s expecting her scores on her latest attempt at the end of this week. Between retesting and test-prep classes, “these test are costing new teachers hundreds and thousands of dollars,” she said.

    DPI has not responded to the Observer’s request for the cost of the Pearson contract.

    The state has named a committee of experts to review whether the Pearson test is aligned with the state’s K-8 curriculum and look at better alternatives. “A better test would be less about content knowledge and more about math knowledge to support strong teaching,” the presentation says.

    The bigger question, according to the report, is whether success on licensure exams actually predicts effectiveness in the classroom. That’s going to be the focus of future study.

    Future teachers without teaching degrees go through a crash course on teaching

    Addressing the great need for teachers in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools' teacher residency program provides the opportunity for adults of any age without education degrees to follow their passion and get in the classroom.


    An earlier version of this story said Pearson provided only the math portion of North Carolina's teacher licensing exam. The company provides all three parts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Sandhills North Carolina
    Plug in the numbers. Here: ->

    These NC teachers are seeing massive pay increases under the Republican Senate
    WeThePeople expect to see positive results from competent teachers

  4. #4
    The Pearson tests are all Common Core including the tests teachers take, that should tell everyone something. Pearson is making a fortune on Common Core and doesn't want the states to change.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Central Illinois..halfway between here and there.
    I'm willing to bet next week's rent that you would see the same results for a test on U.S. history, civics or constitution. We have a whole generation of teachers that were trained to teach for the higher test score.
    Needs more cowbell.
    "The Constitution only gives people the right to persue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." --Benjamin Franklin
    Proud member of fly-over country

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Happy on the mountain
    My bet is, they are one more try away from pencil whipping the numbers for them, so they all pass ...
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto


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