In a bold move Thursday by the State Board of Education, members voted unanimously to amend a new North Carolina law. "Read to Achieve" requires 3rd graders to take 36 mini-reading tests, to see if they're fit to go on to the 4th grade. The board voted to let more counties, like Wake County to have more flexibility to use their own assessments.
But Carla Tavares, a 3rd grade teacher at Millbrook Elementary in Raleigh, said it's not enough. She has had enough with all the testing. "It just really upsets me. You're labeling children. Now you're a 3-R, or you're going to be held back because you didn't pass." Last week she gave the first round of the "Read to Achieve" mini-tests to her 3rd grade students, and said nine of them already failed.
"To expect a child to take a test over and over again until they get it and maybe they don't get it, what are we doing?" said Tavares.
Some Wake County parents agree. Kristen Whitman's daughter goes to Millbrook Elementary. Whitman said, "On top of all the regular testing, it's just way too much. There's no time for them to learn." Her third grade student is Hailey Whitman and she said, "I don't like the testing very much. I get very nervous about passing and doing a good job on the tests."
So when the State Board of Education decided to let Wake County figure out their own reading assessments, parents and teachers felt temporary relief.
Wake County for example is currently figuring what the alternative reading assessments will be. In the meantime, teachers will still have to administer the "Read to Achieve" mini-tests three times a week.