State Board Learns NJ Scored Well In Comparative to Other PARCC States

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The New Jersey State Board of Education received a report from the Acting Performance Officer Jeff Hauger on New Jersey student performance on the recent PARCC assessment at the December State Board Meeting.  The Board also received an update from Academic Officer Kimberly Harrington on the Standards Review Process and got a progress report from Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard.

PARCC Update

The New Jersey State Board of Education got a first glimpse of how New Jersey students stacked up against students in other PARCC states.  Although comparison can’t be drawn to NJ student past performance on state exams, comparisons can be drawn between how NJ students did compared to the other 9 states and the District of Columbia that utilized the PARCC assessment.  These include: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

What the data shows is that even with New Jersey’s middling performance according to PARCC averages, New Jersey students surpassed the averages for the 10 PARCC states last spring in most grades and subjects.  New Jersey was only surpassed by Massachusetts in the percentage of students meeting the PARCC “expectations” in both language arts and math.  Unfortunately future comparisons will be even more narrowly drawn with only six states retaining the assessment this school year.

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By and large, New Jersey also far surpassed the 80 percent average of those taking the assessment on computer – with over 94.5 percent of students taking the assessment on computer.

In addition, Mr. Hauger gave the Board an update on this term’s test administration for those schools operating on a block schedule.  Per Mr. Hauger the test administration which began November 9 is going well with over 13,580 tests to date.


Kicking the Wheels On the Test

Yesterday’s meeting also included a presentation from a former New Jersey Teacher of the Year who headed up a study of the PARCC testing and how it compared pedagogically with the state’s previous elementary and middle school test, the NJASK.  Katherine Bassett, the 2000 New Jersey Teacher of thye Year now heads the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY).

This fall, NNSTOY worked with a dozen other national teachers of the year to review the PARCC exam against NJASK as part of a study called The Right Trajectory,” looking at its different emphases for certain math and language skills.

In a presentation made online from Georgia and routed into the board’s Trenton conference room, Bassett said the NJASK actually rated pretty highly in the study itself, but PARCC had exceeded it in testing for analytic, critical thinking, and research skills.

“You went from a good test to a better test,” she said.

NNSTOY Presentation

Standards Review Process Winds Down

Beyond an update on PARCC, the Board also received an update from Academic Officer Kimberly Harrington ongoing Standards Review process.  Per Harrington, the process is on task for presentation to the Board in January.

The 24-member Standards Review Committee was created by the Governor back in May to review New Jersey’s current curriculum standards, particularly as they relate to adoption of the common core in math and language arts.

Superintendent of Camden Gives Progress Report

Finally, Camden Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard provided the Board with a presentation on the status of the district.  Annually the state-operated school districts are required to present to the State Board of Education.  Rouhanifard’s presentation was the next in the series, following a presentation by Newark Superintendent Christopher Cerf last month.

Rouhanifard focused on work within the district, including the district’s goal to have over 85 percent of students proficient by 2019.  Currently, over 70 percent of students within the district are under-performing.

The discussion also focused on district efforts to consolidate the district’s enrollment system into one application from the 17 applications with 9 different deadlines that existed in the past.

In addition, Rouhanifard answered questions related to school facilities, including current efforts to rehabilitate Camden High School.  Unfortunately although over $50million is allocated to the renovation of the building, over $100 million is required to overhaul the building.