The Assembly Education Committee, hearing from a wide swath of educators, community leaders, parents, and advocates, moved legislation, A-3081/A-990/A-2091 (Jasey/Eustace/Andrzejczak), that would establish a new taskforce, Education Reform Review Task Force, to examine the impact of the implementation of the common core and the new PARCC assessments as well as the impact of these new assessments on students and educators. The bill would delay the use of the PARCC assessment as a basis for student performance in teacher and principal evaluation and for purposes of graduation. The committee also approved two additional measures that would make the Advanced Placement Computer Science course count toward either math or science requirements (A-2597 (Singleton)) and a measure that would mandate CPR training in high school as a requirement for graduation (A-2072 (Fuentes)).
Delaying PARCC Effect
In a hearing that lasted several hours, the Assembly Education Committee voted unanimously in support of, A-3081/A-990/A-2091 (Jasey/Eustace/Andrzejczak), which would delay the consequences of the “high-stakes” testing set to roll out next spring while a 15-member task force investigates the costs and effectiveness of recent education reforms.
Under the bill, the panel would explore the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC, to measure student mastery of the core. The bill would also delay the use of Student Growth Percentiles, a metric that measures student achievement by comparing test results of similar scoring students from year to year, until the task force completes a comprehensive report or two years. The bill also allows the computer-based PARCC tests to be administered next spring as planned, but there would be no consequences in terms of student achievement or teacher evaluations, the bill’s sponsor explained.
Before the vote, the committee of six Democrats and two Republicans listened to three hours of testimony from more than three dozen parents, teachers, educators and advocates, most in support of the measure. Speaker after speaker addressed the need to slow implementation down in order to allow time to “get it right” also expressing concern on the high cost of the testing and the technological upgrades it requires, the loss of instructional time and the stress of students sitting for nine hours of exams.
NJPSA testified in support of the measure
High School Grad Requirements
The committee also approved two additional measures associated with high school graduation requirements. One that would make the Advanced Placement Computer Science course count toward either math or science requirements (A-2597 (Singleton)) and a second measure that would mandate CPR training in high school as a requirement for graduation (A-2072 (Fuentes)).
Specifically, the first measure, A-2597 (Singleton), would allow, beginning with the 2014-2015 grade nine class, an Advanced Placement computer science course to satisfy a part of either the mathematics or science credits required for high school graduation. NJPSA provided the committee preliminary impressions of high school math and science supervisors on the proposed change, expressing concern particularly around replacement of core foundational course work such as Algebra II, Physics or Chemstry
Also approved by the committee was legislation that would require districts to provide CPR training to students in high school as a graduation requirement. NJPSA is working with the sponsor to ensure that districts have proper time to implement the legislation before its effective date and is also seeking to ensure that a district requirement would not disadvantage a student’s ability to graduate should a student not complete the training.