RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - New statewide test results show North Carolina students and teachers have lots of work before most public school students are learning what they need for college and careers ahead.
The new READY assessment released for the first time Thursday finds fewer than half the students in grade 3 and above scored in the proficient range on year-end tests in reading, math and other topics. Most students rated proficient in just two tests out of 18.
The report replaces the ABCs of Public Education, which for 16 years tested the lesser goal of whether children were ready for the next grade.
A separate report Thursday shows North Carolina fourth- and eighth-graders are almost exactly at the national average in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
However, some local school districts in the east are meeting or exceeding the state average including Pitt County.
When NewsChannel 12 asked parents whether they thought Pitt County schools were flat, getting better or getting worse. This is what they had to say.
"I think they're staying flat now um but they can do a better job," parent Imrana Khalid said.
"Well, us personally, we're satisfied with where we're going. Ii mean I can't speak for everyone," parent Pat Mizelle said.
School superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker says under the new curriculum called "Common Core"—students are expected to master material faster and be able to answer real-world questions so they are prepared for life after high school.
"Our kids are no longer competing just against each other. It's not our kids against the kids in the next county. It's our kids against the kids in the world. And so we needed to bring our instructional program and our curriculum up to a higher level," Dr. Lenker said.
Lenker said he's happy about the results for his county but he knows there's still a lot of work to do in the future.
He said they plan to delve deeper into the numbers in the next few weeks to see where they can improve.
Officials said because these standards are new and this is a transitions year, none of the results will impact the schools right now.