Between February and April 2010, the John Locke Foundation asked over 500 college and university faculty to evaluate selected test questions from North Carolina’s 2008-2009 end-of-course high school civics and economics and U.S. history tests. This study provides an overview of the responses from both the mailed and online surveys.
• Most economists surveyed (13.3 percent response rate for this group) objected to all six questions in the questionnaire. A majority of political scientists surveyed (8.5 percent response rate for this group) objected to answers provided for two of the six questions in the questionnaire.
• If state education officials refuse to adopt a new testing program, DPI staff must consult with subject-area experts throughout the test development process. In addition, state education leaders should create a test question review board consisting of college and university faculty and subject-area experts from the private and public sectors.
• The results of this survey substantiate complaints from public school teachers who point out that even a few poorly constructed test questions undermine months of classroom instruction and weeks of test preparation. For students, well-reasoned but incorrect answers to a handful of test questions can be the difference between meeting and not meeting state proficiency standards.