115C-174.12. Responsibilities of agencies.

(a) The State Board of Education shall establish policies and guidelines necessary for minimizing the time students spend taking tests administered through State and local testing programs, for minimizing the frequency of field testing at any one school, and for otherwise carrying out the provisions of this Article. These policies and guidelines shall include the following:

(1) Schools shall devote no more than two days of instructional time per year to the taking of practice tests that do not have the primary purpose of assessing current student learning;

(2) Students in a school shall not be subject to field tests or national tests during the two-week period preceding the administration of end-of-grade tests, end-of-course tests, or the school's regularly scheduled final exams; and

(3) No school shall participate in more than two field tests at any one grade level during a school year; [and]

(4) All annual assessments of student achievement adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C-174.11(c)(1) and (3) and all final exams for courses shall be administered within the final 10 instructional days of the school year for year-long courses and within the final five instructional days of the semester for semester courses. Exceptions shall be permitted to accommodate a student's individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. 794) plans and for the administration of final exams for courses with national or international curricula required to be held at designated times.

These policies shall reflect standard testing practices to insure reliability and validity of the sample testing. The results of the field tests shall be used in the final design of each test. The State Board of Education's policies regarding the testing of children with disabilities shall (i) provide broad accommodations and alternate methods of assessment that are consistent with a student's individualized education program and section 504 (29 U.S.C. 794) plans, (ii) prohibit the use of statewide tests as the sole determinant of decisions about a student's graduation or promotion, and (iii) provide parents with information about the Statewide Testing Program and options for children with disabilities. The State Board shall report its proposed policies and proposed changes in policies to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee prior to adoption.

The State Board of Education may appoint an Advisory Council on Testing to assist in carrying out its responsibilities under this Article.

(b) The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be responsible, under policies adopted by the State Board of Education, for the statewide administration of the testing program provided by this Article.

(b1) The Superintendent shall notify local boards of education by October 1 of each year of any field tests that will be administered in their schools during the school year, the schools at which the field tests will be administered, and the specific field tests that will be administered at each school.

(c) Local boards of education shall cooperate with the State Board of Education in implementing the provisions of this Article, including the regulations and policies established by the State Board of Education. Local school administrative units shall use the annual tests to fulfill the purposes set out in this Article.

(d) By October 1 of each year, each local board of education shall notify the State Board of Education of any local standardized testing to be administered to students by the local school administrative unit at the direction of the local board of education in its schools and the calendar for administering those tests. The local board of education shall include the following information:

(1) The source of funds supporting the local testing program.

(2) The time allotted to administer each test.

(3) Whether the test is a computer-based test or a paper-based test.

(4) The grade level or subject area associated with the test.

(5) The date the test results are expected to be available to teachers and parents.

(6) The type of test, the purpose of the test, and the use of the test results.

(7) Estimates of average time for administering tests required by the local board of education by grade level.

The local board of education shall meet the requirements of this subsection by inputting the information into the uniform calendar published by the Department of Public Instruction pursuant to subsection (e1) of this section.

(d1) In each even-numbered year, each local board of education shall review all local standardized testing administered to students by the local school administrative unit at the direction of the local board of education for the prior two school years, in order to determine the number of tests administered to students and the number of hours required for students to complete the tests. If the average over the prior two-year period of either (i) the number of tests administered or (ii) the number of hours required for students to complete the tests exceeds the State average over the prior two-year period, as published pursuant to subsection (e1) of this section, the local board of education shall submit to the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, by October 1 of the even-numbered year, a plan to eliminate certain local standardized testing in order to ensure that neither the number of tests nor the number of hours required for students to complete the tests exceeds the State average. The State Board of Education shall waive the requirement that a local board develop and submit a plan if the State Board finds that the local board has made significant progress toward reducing local testing to the State average.

(e) By December 15 of each year, the State Board of Education shall submit a report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee containing information regarding the statewide administration of the testing program, including the number and type of tests and the testing schedule, and a summary of any local testing programs reported by local boards of education to the State Board of Education in accordance with subsection (d) of this section. The report shall also include a summary of any local plans provided to the State Board in accordance with subsection (d1) of this section.

(e1) By September 1 of each year, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall publish on the Web site of the Department of Public Instruction the following:

(1) A uniform calendar that includes schedules for State-required testing and reporting results of tests for at least the next two school years, including estimates of the average time for administering State-required standardized tests. The uniform calendar shall be provided to local boards of education in an electronic format that allows each local board of education to populate the calendar with, at a minimum, the information required by subsection (d) of this section. The uniform calendar shall be searchable by local school administrative unit and denote whether a test on the calendar is required by the State or required by a local board of education.

(2) For the local standardized testing information populated by local boards of education under subdivision (1) of this subsection, a summary of the nature and extent of the local testing, including the average over the prior two-year period of (i) the number of tests administered and (ii) the number of hours required for students to complete the tests. (1977, c. 522, ss. 4-6; c. 541, ss. 2, 5-7; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 1014, s. 74(a); 1995, c. 524, s. 4; 2001-424, s. 28.17(f); 2002-126, s. 7.30; 2002-159, s. 70; 2005-276, s. 7.37; 2009-451, s. 7.20(d); 2011-145, s. 7.13(q); 2011-391, s. 14(b); 2013-360, s. 9.2(a); 2016-94, s. 8.32(b); 2017-10, s. 2.14; 2017-57, s. 7.28A(b); 2019-165, s. 2.1; 2019-212, s. 3(a).)