Amendment which would allow school districts to opt out of Istation switch passes NC House, now on to Senate

An amendment by Representative Graig Meyer to Read to Achieve legislation sponsored by Senator Phil Berger passed the House by a vote of 62-51 tonight and the amended bill is on its way back to the Senate.

As amended, the legislation would give local boards of education the flexibility to “select different assessments” to meet the universal screener requirement of Read to Achieve.


This change would give school districts the option to continue using the mClass reading assessment they’ve been using since Read to Achieve was implemented in 2013 instead of switching to the computer-based Istation tool which was unilaterally adopted by State Superintendent Mark Johnson against the recommendations of a team of educators.

The legislation now heads to the Senate where lawmakers will vote to either concur or not concur with SB 438 as amended.

**Updated 7/23: It appears that any school districts that opt to use assessments other than the one selected by the Department of Public Instruction would most likely be responsible for 100% of the cost of the alternate assessment. This raises equity concerns that deserve some healthy public debate.

12 thoughts on “Amendment which would allow school districts to opt out of Istation switch passes NC House, now on to Senate

  1. Computer based assessment do not work for K-2 students who do not have the stamina to push through computer based testing. They click anything to be done. Results are grossly inaccurate.

  2. I’m a retired kindergarten teacher who totally supports the reading program that has been in use for the past years. Children need teacher input and encouragement to succeed

    • There is not a large price difference between Istation’s cost and the most recent mClass quote (which was cut 40% over its 2018-19 pricetag).

      • One would think that without the state negotiating for a “best price” that paying as individual districts would cost significantly more.

  3. I serve in the N.C. Senate and certainly hope that this compromise will solve the problem created by the Superintendent’s unilateral surprise decision to switch to a computer-based assessment that is not popular with teachers. I will support the amendment. Senator Natasha Marcus (SD41)

  4. Students need interaction with REAL books and teachers as they are being assessed, especially K-2! I can’t imagine my kindergarten students being expected to read from a computer. Reading is too important to just stick them on a computer and expect to measure their growth. Also, the Superintendent needs to be voted out or suspended for making that decision all on his own!

  5. I am a NC 20yr public school teacher. Why is it that every time teachers and systems finally work out a system that covers all areas of reading, provides a method of assessment that can be passed and understood from school to school and district to district, someone higher up changes it for us? Thousands of hours and dollars have been spent on training and materials for mClass and without any significant teacher input?!
    Superintendent, there is nothing super about that! Please leave mClass as is.
    Teachers must interact with each child as they are tested so an immediate snapshot of strengths and weaknesses occurs. A computer test, that a Kinder, will not be able to take seriously, will require additional unnecessary spreadsheets and data analysis that can individually be discovered while testing. Additionally, there are non tested skills that are observed when the teacher interacts with the students. mClass works. The political system is broken.

  6. But….
    Mclass is not ALL that either! So stop acting like it was. There needs to be some work in how Mclass scores are/were used to calculate a teacher’s EVAAS scores. It is/was just a snapshot of children as readers at the EOY (end of year)- with the most HORRIBLE books last year published by….Amplify (nepotism). So- no one is looking forward to Istation, but HELLO OUT THERE!! Why don’t/didn’t you listen to teachers when we want/ed Mclass adjusted to show what students CAN do, not making reading more difficult with terrible texts used for student’s EOY reading grade- not to mention our students reading with someone other than their classroom teacher (because I guess N.C. doesn’t trust teachers to assess their own students) and that person (alternate assessor/other than the child’s teacher)holding an iPad and writing on the iPad with kids wondering how they were doing every time something was jotted down- sad sad. Mclass was not a screener for dyslexia either. It is better for a child with dyslexia to be assessed one on one and not on the computer- but it did not screen for dyslexia itself.
    So- wish ncdpi should have listened to teachers to help make Mclass better- we answered survey’s, etc- but it had a ways to go to improve- now we have something else to deal with. NC, trust your teachers- we are the ones working with the children. If you haven’t used Mclass, you probably don’t understand what I’m saying- but you classroom teachers do!! Trust us NC like you trust other professionals.

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