NJPSA Says Thank You on Student Assessment Survey Response!
Here are the Assessment Survey 2023 Results!
On February 1st, the NJPSA Government Relations Team of Debbie Bradley and Jennie Lamon asked our members to weigh in on the issue of student assessment in New Jersey. The Assessment Survey was open for responses from February 1 to February 6, 2023. During this time period, 682 NJPSA members of all grade levels answered our call for feedback!
Thank you for your interest in this issue and your quick responses! We reviewed the input, including over 882 individual comments on issues of state assessment! We incorporated your views into our association testimony on Thursday, February 9th, as Karen Bingert, NJPSA Executive Director, testified before the Assembly Education Committee on A-4639 (Caputo). This legislation would eliminate any high school assessment test as a specific requirement for graduation, not only the current NJ Graduation Proficiency Assessment (NJGPA). Based upon a majority of our members’ responses, NJPSA supported this legislation in concept, but described our members’ significant comments on the entire assessment landscape in our state.
Our survey results contained certain clear messages and recommendations that we shared with the committee as part of this important conversation:
- Student assessments have valid instructional and intervention purposes (see Question 3) and must be aligned with NJ Learning Standards and local curriculum.
- Assessment results, while helpful, are only one indicator that should be considered among multiple indicators of student performance and progress.
- School districts have developed strong local assessment systems that educators have aligned with curriculum, that provide more in-depth, useful and timely data to educators, and that provide more instructional value to students and teachers than state standardized tests.
- Overwhelmingly, NJPSA members (85%) believe that Start Strong should NOT be required of school districts moving forward as they find little value in the duplicative, vague, and unreliable data produced. Additionally they attest to the major negative impacts on students, staff, and administrators by this suddenly required assessment at the start of the school year. Uniformly, members strongly feel that September priorities should be focused on making connections with students, setting classroom norms, establishing a positive school environment, and formatively working with students to reconnect them to learning.
- The vast majority of members believe that we are over-testing students to their detriment. They believe the time has come to streamline required standardized assessments, that learning gaps require more instructional time, that educators must be at the table making these decisions and that out-of-the box thinking is needed to set a new direction.
- Members questioned the current NJGPA as an appropriate exit exam. They have many recommendations for alternate approaches if New Jersey decides to maintain a high school assessment requirement.
- Members strongly pointed out the equity concerns with the NJGPA specifically and the requirement of a high school exit exam generally. They noted the inequitable, high-stakes impacts of requiring multilingual learners, students with disabilities and socioeconomically disadvantaged students to pass this exam to graduate. Time-consuming portfolio appeals, while an option, further pull these students from instruction and limit students’ opportunities to take electives in areas of interest or to pursue a career and technical path.
- They noted the inadequacy of the NJGPA as a measure of career readiness.
- Many members noted the undue stress the graduation requirement induces in students at a very volatile time for students’ mental health.
- Members noted an important shift in the higher education community, where colleges and universities are making standardized testing optional for admission.
- Others described the level of interference that the over-assessment of students has on the provision of an engaging and motivating academic experience. “Students are burnt out and do not value these assessments. The data we receive back is not helpful as we already have plenty of our own data. Our ELLs are struggling and being compared to native English speakers’ results. We barely have teachers in schools right now due to leaves of absences and resignations, but we are expected to properly prepare students for these assessments, which often do not mirror the type of instruction (hands-on, project based, Inquiry- based) that we are delivering.”
For these reasons and more, NJPSA stated that the time has come to revisit our state assessment system as a whole and to stop the constantly changing landscape of what is required to graduate from high school by eliminating the requirement of a high school graduation assessment, that, in this time and place, does more harm than good to our students’ futures.
Here are the specific Assessment 2023 Survey Results
|None of the above||2.14%||14|
|Director responsible for student assessment||14.40%||94|
|Other (please specify)||11.18%||73|
|School and district accountability||26.15%||170|
|To assess student proficiency||59.69%||388|
|To determine student growth/progress||67.69%||440|
|To identify needed changes in curriculum||55.85%||363|
|As a component in the evaluation of teachers||7.38%||48|
|As a component in the evaluation of principals||5.08%||33|
|For high stakes decisions such as grade promotion and placement decisions||9.69%||63|
|For high stakes decisions such as high school graduation||11.54%||75|
|None of the above||9.23%||60|
|Other (please specify)||2.92%||19|
|Neither agree nor disagree||5.67%||37|
|Neither agree nor disagree||7.22%||47|
|Neither agree nor disagree||3.86%||25|
|Neither agree nor disagree||22.39%||146|
|Neither agree nor disagree||12.60%||82|
|Other (please specify)||2.92%||19|
|Not so valuable||34.57%||223|
|Not at all valuable||30.39%||196|
|None of the above||2.19%||14|
|High school graduation assessments ensure that all high school students demonstrate proficiency in core skills at a level set by the state.||31.35%||200|
|High school exit exams motivate students and hold them accountable for their learning.||8.62%||55|
|High school exit exams demonstrate that the New Jersey diploma has value as a symbol of high school achievement.||23.67%||151|
|High school exit exams serve as an indicator of college and career readiness.||11.60%||74|
|New Jersey’s high school exit exam, retesting options, remediation requirements and alternate pathway options (other standardized tests or portfolio assessment) provide a fair process for students to meet the high school exit exam requirements for a diploma.||37.46%||239|
|High school exit exams provide important information to educators .||11.44%||73|
|High school exit exams provide important information to policy makers.||7.21%||46|
|High school exit exam results have a positive correlation with future wages and employment .||1.72%||11|
|High school exit exams produce negative impacts on equity concerns since students with disabilities, multi-lingual learners, minorities and low income students are more likely to be denied a diploma.||55.80%||356|
|High school exit exams do more harm than good leading to increases in dropout rates.||19.59%||125|
|High school exit exams are not necessary since students have already demonstrated competency through their curricular, credit and attendance requirements.||44.51%||284|
|New Jersey’s high school exit requirement unnecessarily takes time, elective choices and other opportunities from busy high school juniors and seniors.||40.13%||256|
|The NJGPA duplicates other existing assessments required at the high school level.||39.18%||250|
|High school exit exams are NOT a valid measure of college or career readiness.||48.59%||310|