Fifteen years ago, North Carolina rolled out its first “ABCs of Public Education” report, ushering in an era when student test scores shaped the reputation of schools and the communities they serve.
Thursday the state will make the last such report. The No. 2 pencils and bubble-in answer sheets that symbolize the end of a school year are being phased out for online testing. More important, school ratings based on basic skills will yield to a system that aims to better gauge how well students are prepared for college or work.
For the last time, this summer’s report will allow top performers to hang “school of excellence” banners, while saddling the worst with the “low-performing” label. Starting in 2013, state legislators have mandated that N.C. schools will be graded like students, from A to F.