Study Commission on Use of Student Assessments Holds Last Public Hearing

Posted · Add Comment

The Study Commission on Use of Student Assessments held its final public hearing at Camden County College in Blackwood today.  The hearing was a make-up, due to inclement weather.  As with the prior hearings, the body took several hours of testimony from parents and educators alike on the impact of assessments on their children, and students, respectively – with particular focus on the new state assessment system – PARCC.  

With a schedule of approximately 41 speakers, and a three-quarter filled room of interested parties, the Commission frequently heard that the direction the State and schools are taking in light of the new PARCC assessment, teacher evaluation and introduction of the common have created far to pervasive a testing culture.

The hearing was the final of three held by the study commission created by Gov. Chris Christie to look at the state’s use of testing, a response to growing protests over the PARCC exams.

About the Commission

Governor Chris Christie named the members of the Commission On Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey in November of last year.  NJPSA Board Member Nicole Moore Samson was named NJPSA’s respresentative to the commission.   The Commission was established as part of EO#159 that not only reduced the weight of testing in teacher and principal evaluations but also established a Commission to examine the use of testing in New Jersey.

The Commission is tasked with presenting recommendations to the Governor regarding the quality and effectiveness of student assessments administered to K-12 students. The body is specifically tasked with ‘considering and making recommendations on the volume, frequency, and impact of student assessments occurring throughout New Jersey school districts, and on the Core Curriculum Content Standards, including the Common Core State Standards.”  The body was to include a “broad range of education practitioners.”  

The group was established after negotiations during the summer that were spurred by Legislative efforts, S-2154 (Van Drew/Gordon) / A-3081/A-990/A-2091 (Jasey/Eustace/Andrzejczak) to delay the use of PARCC in educator educator evaluation.   That legislation would have also established a taskforce, Education Reform Review Task Force, to examine the impact of the implementation of the common core and the new PARCC assessments as well as the impact of these new assessments on students and educators. 

Members Named to the Taskforce Include:

·             Commisioner David C. Hespe, Esq.;

·             Principal of Indian Mills School, Shamong School District Nicole Moore Samson;

·             Camden County College President Raymond A. Yannuzzi, Ph.D.;

·             NJ Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Workforce Development Dana Elizabeth Egreczky;

·             NJ School Board Association Executive Director Lawrence S. Feinsod, Ed.D.;

·             NJPTA Vice President of Advocacy Catherine M. Lindenbaum;

·             Superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools Marcia V. Lyles, Ed.D.;

·             Camden County Vocational District Educator Matthew Stagliano; and

·             Freehold Township Teacher Tracie Yostpille 

The Study Commission issued an initial report containing its recommendations to the Governor in late December (Study Commission on Use of Assessments Interim Report Released, January 23, 2015). The Study Commission is tasked with issuing a final report to the Governor by July 31, 2015.