How often your elementary and middle school kids are retested this spring will be up to each individual Wake principal.
Under a new policy adopted for this year by the state Board of Education, every student in grades 3-8 who barely fail one of the state's end-of-grade exams has to be given a retest. (This covers students who score a Level II.)
But Wake is leaving it up to individual principals whether to require students who still haven't passed to take a second retest.
David Holdzkom, assistant superintendent for evaluation and research, told school board members on Tuesday that he's not recommending requiring a second retest because principals don't see enough benefits. Basically, kids who've failed an EOG test twice aren't likely to get it on the third try.
But if a school does require a second retest, Holdzkom said it has to be offered to all the Level II students. He said they can't selectively determine which students to retest.
The state is requiring the retests because they can now be used to determine a school's passing rate on standardized tests. The retests are expected to signficantly boost passing rates across the state.
Next school year, retests will also be mandated by the state for students who fail high school end-of-course tests.
But the retests could also pose a headache in time and cost, especially when the state estimates each one could cost $3 a pop.
In Wake alone, Holdzkom said you're looking at potentially as many as 16,000 retests for reading and 5,700 for math.
Initially, the state was only going to require retests for grades 3, 5 and 8. But the board was persuaded to expand to grades three through 12 after hearing from former Wake Supt. Bill McNeal, now executive director of the state Association of School Administrators.
"We think not only should students get credit for [retests], schools should get credit for it," McNeal said.