Perdue joined the National Assessment Governing Board in October 2017. The 26-member board sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which provides schools with information about student achievement, regulates standardized testing and defines national achievement levels. As chairperson, she will preside over meetings until Sept. 30, 2019, when a new chairperson will be appointed.
The board was formed in 1988 to ensure that education-related decisions are made without partisan input from the Department of Education. With 26 members, including two governors from different political parties, state legislators, educators and members of the public, the board is intended to be a nonpartisan influence on the education system.
At its core, the board is intended to report data on student achievement to the general public. This report comes through the Nation’s Report Card, a broad assessment of student achievement throughout the country.
Perdue has been in the political sphere for over 25 years, including serving as a North Carolina state senator and lieutenant governor. In the state senate, she led the Education and Appropriations Committee.
After winning the 2008 election for governor, Perdue became the first female to hold the office in North Carolina. Over the next four years, she focused on several education-related issues, including raising teacher salaries and increasing technology in schools.
After her tenure as governor, Perdue continued her focus on education by starting a non-profit called digiLEARN, which works to improve digital learning opportunities for students and teachers.
While Boyd expressed excitement and optimism for Perdue’s appointment, others want Perdue to reconsider the importance of standardized testing in schools.
Savannah Patterson, a senior in the UNC BEST program, said as a future teacher, she has a lot of concerns about standardized testing and the harm it can do to students.
“The way they’re pushed is based off of student success, so teachers feel pressured to teach to the tests rather than teach for learning or comprehension,” she said.
Instead, Patterson said she hopes Perdue will change the way students are assessed.
“I recommend that they stop basing teacher success and class success on the tests because it’s not indicative of the environment, and the environment is more important,” she said.