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Low Standardized Test Scores

Some mountain school systems have failing grades from new, standardized testing. But educators say they expected low scores after the design of the test changed.

Jackson County students scored 42.4. That's more than two points under the state's passing rate of 44.7.

The new testing emphasizes critical thinking over memorization. Parts of it requiring written responses.

The superintendent says after an adjustment period, scores will go up and these initial scores do not reflect any kind of failure.

"All my principals are gearing up to have conferences and talking with parents especially explaining the difference in what the models look like," said Dr. Michael Murray.

Brandy Crowe has two children at Smoky Mountain High School.  She doesn't approve of any kind of standardized testing.

"I think it all needs to go.  I think it needs to go back to the way it was before, because we learned a lot more useful things that we can use in real life," said Crowe.

But Tony Romine, whose daughter attends Cullowhee Valley School, says he's willing to give the new testing a chance.

"If it's low at the start and it keeps going up though I mean, if it works, then I'm all for it," said Romine.

Jackson County has a month to get students' individual scores to parents.

Haywood, Transylvania, Clay, Cherokee, and Macon scored above Jackson County. Graham and Swain scored below Jackson.

By Rex Hodge

Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS


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