Parents may be scratching their heads when EOC and EOG test scores are released at the end of this semester.

Starting this school year, an additional scoring level will be added to EOC and EOG reports.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education adopted the new scoring level standards to help educators better see where their students land on the path to career and college readiness.

McDowell County Schools Director of Research and Accountability Greg Hughes explained the difference between the old scoring levels and the new ones.

“What we’ve had in the past with state scoring is levels one through four,” said Hughes. “Now it’s levels one through five. Essentially, what’s happened is that levels three and four are now levels four and five. That creates a new meaning for level-three scores.”

The new level-three scores were created for students who may be ready to move onto the next grade, but not necessarily on the path to career and college readiness.

This scoring level was created to assist schools in the delivery of differentiated instruction that best meets the needs of each individual student. That means that students get the help they need in the areas that they need it in and get to move onto the next grade.

Students scoring a four or five not only show that they are proficient at grade level, but that they are on track for career and college.

Level-three and higher scores will be reported on NC Report Cards, Ready Accountability reports, individual student reports, Read to Achieve reports and School Performance Grades, but no on federal reports.

Level four and higher scores will be reported on the NC Report Cards, Ready Accountability reports, individual student reports and Federal Annual Measurable Objective reports.

End-of-year testing will begin for students in year-long classes on Wednesday, May 28 at Eastfield Global Magnet Schools and on Thursday, May 29 at the rest of McDowell County’s elementary schools and junior highs. Testing for year-long classes at McDowell Early College will begin on Wednesday, May 14.

End-of-year testing for students in semester-long classes will begin at McDowell Early College on Wednesday, May 21.

At McDowell High School, senior end-of-year exams begin on Monday, June 2. All other end of course exams and finals begin on Thursday, June 5.

Hughes stated that attendance was important for successful testing, especially since the state has shortened the time window in which students can take an exam.

“Attendance is crucial and it’s paramount during testing,” said Hughes. “The more kids that are there, the less make-ups that folks have to give and it makes the entire last process a lot better if kids are in school. “