What tests will be given to my high school student to measure academic progress?
There are 11 different types of tests given to high school students, although an individual student will not take all tests. Some tests are given to all students; others are given depending on the individual student’s academic level or academic choice. Still others are given to a sample of students. The following list explains the tests, their origin and what they measure.
Parents may look at their children’s school records, including some test results, by signing up for Parent Assistant. This online access tool can help you monitor your child’s progress in school.
End-of-Course tests: Often called EOCs, these are tests required by the state of North Carolina for students in grades nine through 12. They are given at the end of each school year and measure a student’s progress in specific courses during that year. EOCs are given in 10 subject areas: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, English I, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, U.S. History and Civics/Economics. All students enrolled in these courses take an End-of-Course test, unless they qualify for an alternate kind of test. The alternate tests in these subjects measure the same thing but accommodate specific learning disabilities or other special needs of some students. The alternate test is called NCCLAS.
NC Writing Assessment: This is a state test to measure student progress on writing skills. These tests are given to students at the end of grades four, seven and 10.
NC Test of Computer Skills: This state test, to measure computer literacy, is given throughout the year to students who did not pass it in eighth grade.
NC Comprehensive Math Test: This state test, which measures math skills, is given to students who have not taken Algebra I by the 10th grade.
NC Competency Test: This state test is given to students who did not pass an End-of-Grade test in the eighth grade. By law, students must meet a competency test standard in order to receive a high school diploma, and this test is the standard when a student has failed one or more End-of-Course or End-of-Grade tests. (Students who pass the required End-of-Course tests in high school are not required to take the competency test.)
VoCATS: These tests are given to students who enroll in vocational classes in high school to assess if the students have mastered the coursework in specific vocational areas.
Local formative assessments: These tests are given by CMS to measure students’ progress so that teachers can adapt and enhance instruction to best meet students’ needs. All students at all levels take these tests periodically during the school year.
PSAT: Formerly called the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, this test is taken by high school juniors to prepare for the SAT (see below) and it qualifies them for the National Merit Scholarship competition. CMS requires all students to take this test because the district wants to encourage as many students as possible to attend college. It also provides important information about students’ skill levels.
SAT: Formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test, this nationally used assessment of high-level math, reading and writing skills is used by most colleges and universities in considering a student’s application. These tests, administered by a national testing agency, are usually taken by high school juniors and seniors.
AP: Advanced Placement courses are intended to familiarize high school students with the level of rigor and scope of material found in college courses. Students who take Advanced Placement courses are given AP exams when the courses are complete.
IB: The International Baccalaureate program, used in high schools, is a worldwide one recognized for its rigor. Students enrolled in International Baccalaureate courses will take IB exams.