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NC Lawmakers Reach Compromise On School Testing Bill

The North Carolina legislative building is seen in Raleigh.

Updated 9:45 a.m.

North Carolina lawmakers have reached a compromise on a testing bill that promises to limit the time students spend taking tests. But it does so without eliminating the end-of-year exams that are used to grade schools.

The conference committee bill, which passed Monday night, eliminates the state final exams that are given in some high school classes. But unlike the House plan, it preserves the End of Grade tests given in grades 3 to 8 and the End of Course exams given in high school math, English and biology courses.

Student scores on those exams shape the A-to-F letter grades the state issues to all public schools.

The conference bill orders the state superintendent to start studying a new approach to testing, with student progress sized up in short tests throughout the year rather than one long exam at year’s end. But the bill doesn’t say when and how such changes might happen.

The bill passed in the House in a vote of 105 to 12 and in the Senate unanimously. It's now headed to Gov. Roy Cooper.

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.