115C-83.7. Elimination of social promotion.

(a) The State Board of Education shall require that a student be retained in the third grade if the student fails to demonstrate reading proficiency appropriate for a third grade student, as demonstrated on a State-approved standardized test of reading comprehension administered to third grade students. The test may be readministered once prior to the end of the school year.

(b) Students may be exempt from mandatory retention in third grade for good cause, but shall continue to be eligible to participate in reading camps, receive instructional supports and services and reading interventions appropriate for their age and reading level. Good cause exemptions shall be limited to the following:

(1) Limited English Proficient students with less than two school years of instruction in an English as a Second Language program.

(2) Students with disabilities, as defined in G.S. 115C-106.3(1), and whose individualized education program indicates (i) the use of the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessment, (ii) at least a two school year delay in educational performance, or (iii) receipt of intensive reading interventions for at least two school years.

(3) Students who demonstrate reading proficiency appropriate for third grade students on an alternative assessment approved by the State Board of Education.

(4) Students who demonstrate, through a student reading portfolio, reading proficiency appropriate for third grade students. Student reading portfolio and review processes used by local school administrative units shall be approved by the State Board of Education.

(5) Students who have (i) received reading intervention and (ii) previously been retained more than once in kindergarten, first, second, or third grades.

(c) The superintendent shall determine whether a student may be exempt from mandatory retention on the basis of a good cause exemption. The following steps shall be taken in making the determination:

(1) The teacher of a student eligible for a good cause exemption shall submit documentation of the relevant exemption and evidence that promotion of the student is appropriate based on the student's academic record to the principal. Such evidence shall be limited to the student's individual education program, if applicable, alternative assessment, or student reading portfolio.

(2) The principal shall review the documentation and make an initial determination whether the student should be promoted. If the principal determines the student should be promoted, the principal shall make a written recommendation of promotion to the superintendent for final determination. The superintendent's acceptance or rejection of the recommendation shall be in writing. (2012-142, s. 7A.1(b); 2014-5, s. 5; 2015-46, s. 2.)