Governor Murphy and Commissioner Repollet are proposing new regulations related to student assessment for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. These regulations will be formally unveiled at the State Board meeting on Wednesday, July 11th.
The first proposed changes which are intended to be implemented quickly and apply to the Class of 2019, include:
- Reducing the number of tests required for high school graduation from six to two. The two tests that will remain are Algebra I and English Language Arts 10;
- Maintaining multiple pathways currently available to show proficiency including the SAT among other available options;
- Ensuring a timely dissemination of assessment results to educators and parents, thereby closing feedback loops; and,
- Allowing for English Language Learners to substitute a NJDOE-approved English language proficiency test in lieu of the current statewide assessment.
Additional changes that the Department will make as part of this initial step that do not require State Board approval include:
- A reduction of the length of assessments across all grades by 25%, returning valuable time to students and educators that should be spent learning, and not on testing
- A reduction in the impact of state assessment results on teacher and principal evaluations.
The changes in the regulations come after a concerted effort by the NJDOE to engage in a “listening tour” to gain as much feedback about the current state assessment from as many stakeholders as possible.
In a press release announcing this proposal, the NJDOE stated that recommendations were collected during a two-month, 21-county tour in which the Commissioner and staff traveled over 5,700 miles, held approximately 75 in-person sessions, three live webinars, and heard from more than 2,300 students, teachers, school administrators, education advocates and community leaders.
In a letter to NJPSA members, Executive Director Pat Wright wrote the following:
First, I would like to thank Commissioner Repollet for leading these outreach efforts and for following through on his promise to value stakeholder input. I would also like to thank every NJPSA member who provided focused and relevant feedback throughout this process. By serving on committees, answering surveys, joining focus groups, attending the listening tour sessions, speaking up at the Legislative Conference and other meetings and events, you helped shape these proposed regulations.
Last year, NJPSA partnered with NJASA to form joint committees to offer recommendations to the new administration related to both the evaluation process and graduation requirements. A joint letter was sent to then Governor-Elect Murphy making several recommendations for changes in statewide assessments, and we are pleased to note that some of these suggestions are reflected in today’s proposal. I again thank the members of these committees for their collaboration and hard work.
It is important to note that the “listening tour” allowed the NJDOE to capture information not only about both the positive and negative aspects of PARCC, but also about what stakeholders wanted to see in the next generation of state assessments.
The proposed regulations are only the first step in transitioning to the next generation of state assessments. The hard work lies ahead, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the DOE as New Jersey moves to develop a fair, rigorous, and meaningful assessment system. NJPSA will ensure that you, our members, have the opportunity for your voice to be heard.
The NJDOE will now launch its second phase of assessment outreach in New Jersey. More information about Phase 2 will be made available over the next few months, so be sure to stay tuned!