The 2008-2009 school year has officially ended. Earlier this month, I participated in graduation ceremonies for each of our district's seven high schools. More than 1,500 Cabarrus County Schools students received their high school diplomas. Congratulations, Class of 2009!
Some of our graduates will continue their studies at colleges and universities, others will begin the honorable task of serving our country by enlisting in the military, and others still will roll up their sleeves and jump right into the workforce. No matter what the future holds, Cabarrus County Schools is proud of their accomplishments, and we wish each of them well in their future endeavors.
At our Community Meeting in May, many of you shared your concerns about the amount of standardized testing prevalent in education today. One of the tenets of the No Child Left Behind Act is an increased focus on accountability. In its purest form, accountability is a sound concept. It is and always will be a tried-and-true way to measure performance and growth - inside and outside the classroom.
The end-of-year testing season creates stress on students and staff alike. School systems are faced with implementing the tests, coordinating volunteers to serve as proctors and administering state-mandated retests, and students and teachers spend hours preparing and reviewing for the tests.
Given today's economic climate, it's no surprise that there are many who are arguing for a reduction in the number of standardized tests that are administered. Some estimates indicate that the state of North Carolina could save millions if only a portion of the mandated standardized tests were eliminated. But there is more than money at stake here.
Many parents and educators wonder about the effect that the newly mandated retesting will have on students. They often ask how a student can master a year's worth of work in a couple of days. Others ask what retesting does for a student's self-esteem and wonder about the effectiveness of a short remediation period.
Yet, there is data which suggests that, at least for some students, the remediation period is sufficient and that retesting yields positive results. For example, preliminary results indicate that nearly one third of Cabarrus County Schools students in grades 3-8 who were retested in either a reading or math EOG in late May achieved proficiency the second time around. These figures suggest that perhaps the children didn't take the test seriously the first time or they may have conquered their initial fear of testing.
Definitely, food for thought. We'll continue our dialogue at Community Meetings scheduled in conjunction with our Board of Education's traveling work sessions. I hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings.
Community Meetings Schedule
July Community Meeting - July 30, 2009
5 p.m. at Hickory Ridge High School
August Community Meeting - August 27, 2009
5 p.m. at Cox Mill High School
September Community Meeting - September 24, 2009
5 p.m. at Concord High School
Cabarrus County Schools