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  • Summary date: Apr 14 2021 - View Summary

    Includes whereas clauses.

    Amends GS 115C-562.2 to require an eligible student awarded an opportunity scholarship grant to attend a nonpublic school to participate, if selected, in administration of a common examination selected by the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) for program evaluation purposes, in order to maintain eligibility for receipt of the scholarship grant.

    Amends GS 115C-562.5 to require nonpublic schools that accept eligible students receiving opportunity scholarship grants to (1) administer or allow administration of a common examination to those students selected for purposes of program evaluation, and (2) provide to the Authority grade retention rates for students receiving scholarship grants and grade retention rates for the total number of students enrolled.

    Amends GS 115C-562.7 to require the Authority to annually report to the specified NCGA committees on the evaluation of the opportunity scholarship grants as required by GS 115C-562.7A, as enacted. Eliminates previous reporting requirements of the Authority concerning scholarship grants.

    Enacts GS 115C-562.7A to require the Authority to select an independent research organization to conduct research for the reporting required under GS 115C-562.7(c), as amended. Requires the Authority to select a common test to be used for scholarship grant evaluations. Requires the Authority to provide information to the organization to establish student samples. Details the information the organization is required to research and report to the Authority concerning learning gains and losses of students receiving scholarship grants, and competitive effects on public school performance on standardized tests as a result of the scholarship grant program (similar to the reporting requirements eliminated from GS 115C-562.7 by the act). Details student sample selection requirements and evaluation. Provides for schools to provide the organization with test results if a selected student has otherwise been administered the common test in that school year. Requires DPI and the Authority to provide aggregate test information for nonpublic and public students to the organization upon request. Deems all personally identifiable student information confidential and not public record.

    Amends GS 115C-174.11 to mandate that DPI require local boards of education to participate in the administration of the common test for purposes set out in new GS 115C-562.7A. Adds that the testing should be conducted with the smallest sample size necessary to ensure valid comparisons.

    The above provisions apply beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

    Amends GS 115C-562.8 to allow the Authority to retain 4% of funds appropriated to award scholarship grants or $2.15 million each fiscal year for administrative costs for the scholarship program (was, up to 4% of the funds appropriated or $1.5 million). Adds a new requirement for the Authority to use up to $150,000 each fiscal year to cover expenses related to the selection of an independent research organization for program evaluation under new GS 115C-562.7A. Effective July 1, 2021.

    Makes a conforming reporting deletion in Section 8.29 of SL 2013-360.

    Requires the Authority to select an independent research organization beginning with the 2020-21 school year, with the first learning gains report required under GS 115C-562.7, as amended, due December 1, 2022.

    Requires a nonpublic school enrolling a student receiving an opportunity scholarship grant for the 2021-22 school year to provide the Authority with data on grade retention required under GS 115C-562.5(a)(4b), as enacted, for the 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 school years.