In talking with parents, we have found that many are unaware of the changes to the accountability and testing systems for high school students in North Carolina. Some are aware that the state eliminated many End-of-Course (EOC) tests last year, leaving English I, Algebra I, and Biology as the only EOC tests that high school students take. What many don't know is that the state is piloting the use of the ACT, PLAN, and WorkKeys tests for high school students this year. Next year, 2012-2013, these tests will become part of the North Carolina Accountability system.
The PLAN will be given to all 10th grade students and is supposed to assess students' current academic development and help plan for the remainder of high school. Parents may be familiar with ACT as one of the primary college entrance tests; this will be given free of charge to all 11th grade students. It is designed to assess student skills in English, math, science, and reading. Both of these tests are connected to the Common Core standards being adopted by NC and 44 other states plus the District of Columbia. WorkKeys will be given to students in career/technical training in the 12th grade to assess work skills and readiness.
These tests are expected to provide additional information about how well schools are educating students and to address gaps for students in terms of what they still need to learn. They are planned to be used for assessment and accountability, but will not be part of a grade or an exit requirement for high school.
Here is a synopsis of the change in a pdf format.
And a comprehensive website including resources for parents.