Students Who Score Level 5 MUST be Placed in Advanced Classes—It’s the Law!

Did you know that, by law (SL 218-32; HB 986), students who score a level 5 on their End-of-Grade (EOG) or End-of-Course (EOC) tests must be placed in an advanced course the following school year? This is true for all public schools in North Carolina, grades 3-12. (Charter schools are exempt.)

For elementary school, the LEAs can decide what “advanced courses” might be. Some examples are compacted, exploratory, or single-subject acceleration courses. In middle and high school, these include compacted courses, courses designated as “honors,” and college-level courses. Seventh graders who score a 5 must be placed in high school math—not simply a high-level 8th-grade course—but a real high school course (Math 1, 2, 3, or a 4th-level math class).

Here’s what the actual law says:

When advanced courses are offered in mathematics, any student scoring a level five on the end-of-grade or end-of-course test for the mathematics course in which the student was most recently enrolled shall be enrolled in the advanced course for the next mathematics course in which the student is enrolled. A student in seventh grade scoring a level five on the seventh grade mathematics end-of-grade test shall be enrolled in a high school level mathematics course in eighth grade.

But what about a student who was not already in the advanced math track?

’Doesn’t matter. Prior exposure to advanced courses is NOT a prerequisite with this law. Earning a 5 on a standardized math test usually indicates that a student is knowledgeable, motivated, and highly educable. Some students may have gaps in their knowledge for advanced courses, or for the high expectations.  School counselors may want to include these students in small groups.

Can we make exceptions to this rule?

Not without parent or guardian permission.

The next part of the law reads:

No student who qualifies under this subsection shall be removed from the advanced or high school mathematics course in which the student is enrolled unless a parent or guardian of the student provides written consent for the student to be excluded or removed from that course.

Do the parents know about this law?

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instructions, schools must inform the parents clearly and concisely, in English and in Spanish, if necessary. It is the duty of the school boards within each LEA to put the word out to parents, and it is up to the school boards to determine how they will disseminate the information.
But we don’t offer many honors, AP, or IB courses. What shall we do?

The first part of the law reads:

When practicable, local boards of education shall offer advanced courses in mathematics in all grades three and higher.

Make a plan to start offering them, or offer them on line from North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS).  They offer all the courses needed, including all of the high school math courses, 1, 2, 3, and the 4th-level courses. They offer AP Math 2 and 3. You might also partner with the NC School of Science and Math.

When does this law take effect?

It’s already in effect. It was in effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

Does the inverse apply? If a child doesn’t make a 5 on the EOG or EOC, do they have to leave the advanced courses?

No, they can stay. This bill isn’t about level 4 students. It’s only about level 5. Level 5 students must be placed in these classes. That doesn’t mean other students can’t be.

What data should be used?

EOC and EOG data only. That’s according to the law. Students may earn a B or lower as their classroom grade, yet score 5 on the standardized test. If so, this law applies, and they must be put in the advanced classes.

DPI’s recorded webinar

Here are some points of contact at DPI who may be able to answer your questions.

Advanced learning
Beth Cross
Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) & Advanced Programs consultant

Sneha Shah-Coltrane
Division of Advanced Learning Director

Stephanie Cyrus
AIG & AP Consultant

NC DPI Mathematics Section
Denise Schulz
Elementary Mathematics Consultant

Lisa Ashe
Secondary Mathematics Consultant

Tammy Lackey
K-8 Mathematics Consultant

Joseph Reaper
Secondary Mathematics Consultant