Members with questions on MSL/common exams – please make sure you read the Guide here. Beginning on page Seven are answers to many of the most common questions we are receiving at NCAE .
Participation in the Common Exams
Who is required to participate?
• All students at grades 4–8 and high school must participate (with or without
• Students repeating a course must take the common exam for the course.
• Students with disabilities must participate in the common exams utilizing the same accommodations they normally use for classroom assessments.
• Students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) must participate in the common exams utilizing the same modifications they normally use for classroom assessments (see bullet 3 below).
Who is NOT required to participate?
• All students in IB and AP courses are exempt from the spring 2013 administration of the common exams (IB and AP students are not exempt from end-of-course testing requirements). AP and IB courses will have a different process to inform teacher effectiveness that will be piloted in fall 2013 and implemented in spring 2014.
• Students currently being instructed on the Extended Content Standards who, according to their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), participate in the NCEXTEND1 alternate assessment are exempt from the common exams.
• Students identified as limited English proficient (LEP) who score below Level 4.0 Expanding on the state-identified English language proficiency reading placement test and are in their first year in U.S. schools are not required to be assessed on the high school common exams for English Language Arts I, English Language Arts III, English Language Arts IV, OCS English Language Arts I,
OCS English Language Arts III, and OCS English Language Arts IV. These students must take the common exams for science, mathematics, and social studies; however, their scores will not be included in educator effectiveness
• Students taking a course for credit recovery are not required to be assessed on the common exams.
• Students enrolled in online courses taught by persons not employed by the school district (e.g., student enrolled in an early college and the course is taught by a college professor) are not required to participate in the common exams.
• Students enrolled in North Carolina Virtual Public Schools’ (NCVPS) courses are not required to participate in the common exams.
• In rare cases, students may be medically fragile because of a significant medical emergency and/or condition and are unable to participate in a specific test administration. These students may be granted a medical exception for the
common exams. It is a local decision as to how requests for medical exceptions are to be processed. Medical exception requests for common exams are NOT to be sent to the NCDPI. However, if a student has been granted a medical exception by the NCDPI, it may be extended to include the common exam(s) at the discretion of the LEA.
Can seniors be exempt from the common exams?
• The LEA decides whether or not to exempt seniors from the common exams. However, when making these decisions, the LEA must keep in mind that a teacher of seniors must have scores to populate Standard 6 in order to measure growth.
If a value added score cannot be calculated for a teacher of seniors, the LEA is responsible for creating an alternative way to measure student growth.
Do students who transfer into a school near the end of the course or school year participate in the common exams?
• Transfer students must take the common exams. Scores will not be used to determine teacher growth if the transfer student is in membership less than 70 days for a block course or 140 days for a traditional/yearlong course.
Angela Farthing, Director
NCAE Instructional Advocacy and Organizing Programs
700 S. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27611
Fax 919 829 1626