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NC Education Board approves tougher standards

RALEIGH The North Carolina Board of Education has approved tough scoring requirements for standardized tests for students.

The board unanimously approved standards Thursday that will likely mean failure rates of more than 50 percent in most of the reading, math and science tests that students took last spring.

The board considered lowering the bar so more students would pass.

Delaying the tougher scoring would mean some students would be identified as proficient in a topic when they aren’t, said Tammy Howard, director of accountability services at the Department of Public Instruction. That could mean students missing the help they need to improve, she said.

North Carolina gives end of the year tests in English and math to elementary and middle school students beginning in third grade. Science tests are given to fifth and eighth graders, and biology, math and English tests are taken in high school.

The high school English test and the eighth-grade science test are the only tests where more than half of the students passed earlier this year.

Board member John Tate endorsed the tougher requirements, saying schools need to prepare students for the demands of the job market.

“This is the price that is paid to lift those standards and the level of rigor that exists,” Tate said.

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