After a year of public controversy over state assessment requirements, particularly at the high school level, the public comment period on the State Board of Education’s most recent proposal is drawing to a close on January 31, 2020. This proposal concerns high school graduation assessment requirements for the classes of 2020 through 2025 and beyond. The proposal and State Board materials can be accessed here. NJPSA President Karen Bingert testified in support of the State Board’s most recent proposal N.J.A.C. 6A:8-1.3, 4.1, 5.1 and 5.2 (Notice of Substantial Change issued on October 21, 2019) and presented implementation recommendations developed by the NJPSA Critical Issues Committee.
To read Bingert’s full testimony click here.
NJPSA Critical Issues Committee implementation recommendations include the following:
- We strongly recommend that the 11th grade assessment be given in the Fall (November) of that year in order to provide as much time as possible for student remediation efforts if needed. The junior year is a time of many challenges, academic pressures, and emotional stressors for our students and would not be the year we would select for graduation testing absent state statute.
- We recommend that efforts be undertaken at the state level to strengthen and incorporate the portfolio process within our high school coursework to provide an equitable pathway to graduation while alleviating a separate burden on students who do not pass the 11th grade assessment.
- NJPSA members strongly urge the NJDOE to address the timeliness of data in any new assessment contracts to ensure that teachers and other educators receive assessment data as soon as possible. In addition, we urge the NJDOE to address the issue of timely transmission of data between districts and states. Often, our members are “data blind” with respect to the past performance levels of transfer students, ELL students and out-of-state students until well into the school year.
- We urge the collaborative development of an implementation timeline with members of NJPSA and the field to ensure a smooth transition to a new assessment.
- We urge the continuation of our state-level discussion on assessment including an exploration of innovative approaches to assessment being explored in other states. Relatedly, issues of reciprocity between states, to permit a student’s state assessment results to follow the student, should be explored.
- Finally, we urge the State Board of Education and the NJDOE to continue to examine our state graduation requirements and explore multiple, yet equitable pathways to graduation.
If you are interested in submitting your written comments, you must submit them in writing so that they are received in the State Board office by January 31, 2020. You can submit your comments electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also mail your comments so they are received by January 31at at the State Board office to: New Jersey Department of Education
State Board Office
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-500
Attention: Diane Schoener, Director
NJPSA encourages all members to share their views on this important topic!