Important Assessment Updates: NJPSA Advocacy Leads to Extension of Start Strong Test Administration Window to October 21, 2022
Since June 2022, NJPSA has been advocating on our members’ behalf concerning the surprise, mandatory requirement to administer the Start Strong Assessments this fall. After hearing member concerns, NJPSA held a Roundtable Discussion for members to engage directly with the NJDOE on this and other assessment issues for the upcoming school year. On July 28, over 300 members voiced their questions, concerns and recommendations with the Acting Assistant Commissioner, Division of Teaching and Learning Services and John Boczany ,Acting Director of the Office of Assessments.
Following this session, NJPSA submitted our members’ recommendations to the NJDOE and the State Board of Education. These included:
- A recommendation to make the fall Start Strong assessment voluntary.
- A request for an extension of the test administration window to mid-October;
- A recommendation that the NJDOE advocate for the field by working with test vendors to modify the data reporting format for the Start Strong assessment, adding a data spreadsheet by standard and question;
- A recommendation that the NJDOE develop a communications package, to be issued directly to parents, discussing the need, purpose, and rationale for the Start Strong assessment before the beginning of the 2022-23 school year; and
- A recommendation that a standing committee on assessment be convened with appropriate professional members from the field, including NJPSA, to discuss assessment issues before the NJDOE acts on wide-ranging assessment policy.
NJPSA also joined as signatory to a group letter from education stakeholder groups in August asking again that the Start Strong Assessment be voluntary, not mandatory.
Today, the NJDOE issued a Broadcast Memo announcing that the Start Strong Fall 2022 testing window has been extended from August 31, 2022 through October 21, 2022. All students, including students with disabilities who are not eligible for the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessments and English Language Learners (ELLs), will be expected to participate in the Start Strong Assessments. (The original window required test administration to end on September 30th. )
Additionally, the NJDOE re-announced that the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Fall 2022 assessment window would be from September 12, 2022 through December 23, 2022 in a Broadcast Memo dated August 31, 2022. Similar to the announcement of a mandatory Start Strong fall assessment, this Broadcast Memo makes the surprise announcement that the administration of the DLM to students eligible for this assessment is now mandatory. This contradicts recent NJDOE statements that the DLM would be optional and the posted website listing that the DLM for the fall was to be an optional assessment. The memo also references guidance to districts administering the DLM Instructionally embedded (IE) assessments.
For more information, the NJDOE invites you to contact the Office of Assessments at (609) 376-3960 or firstname.lastname@example.org. DLM focused questions can be directed to DLM-Support@ku.edu or (855) 277-9751. Specific questions regarding the usage of the DLM Essential Elements and instruction can be directed to Amanda Philp at email@example.com.