Thursday, February 28, 2013

Common Exam Changes for Spring

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently provided a memorandum of changes with Common Exam (MSL) administration and format for this semester.

Gaston County Schools was one of approximately 40 LEA's that did not apply for a waiver from Common Exam's to be administered in the Fall Semester, as principals and assistant principals provided their own input to Central Office administration.  As a result, these 40 LEA's were able to become familiar with the Common Exam format, procedures, and scoring components, myself included.

These are some of the key changes to the Common Exam administration, as provided by Rebecca B. Garland (Chief Academic Officer) and Angela H. Quick (Deputy CAO):

  • The number of multiple-choice items will be decreased to address the issues of many students not having enough time to complete the exams.  This change will be made in the English I, English III, English IV, Physics, Geometry, Algebra II, Advanced Functions and Models, and Pre-calculus assessments.  I believe this is a crucial change, as it will hopefully address the biggest issue we had in the first-round of administering the Common Exam.

  • The scoring rubrics are being revised to provide exam scorers (certified teachers in the core area-not necessarily the subject area) more information.  NCDPI is going to be providing training via webinars to prepare teachers on Common Exam grading over the next month.  This will assist our teachers who were required to grade Common Exams for a subject different than what they have taught.  For example, a World History teacher serving as a grader for the Civics and Economics exam.

  • Advanced Placement courses (and IB courses) will be exempt from this upcoming administration.  In regards to Standard VI of the North Carolina Educator Evaluation System, fall scores in AP/IB courses will not count in determining the teacher's "rating" in this standard.  If a teacher has all Advanced Placement courses, their Standard VI "rating" will be 100% school-based.  The complexity of AP classes will be that some courses (ex. AP Chemistry), the students will already have an opportunity to take the Common Exam (Chemistry I), where other AP classes (ex. AP English III) serve as the required course.

I am pleased to see DPI making these adjustments, and I'm sure more adjustments will continue after the upcoming testing in May-June.


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith     and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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