New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has said that it is time for the Garden State to get rid of PARCC. To that end, the New Jersey Department of Education announced last week they will solicit public input in May to “inform” the next statewide assessment.
“We will be visiting communities throughout the state so we can hear recommendations from parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and other key stakeholders,” New Jersey Acting Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet said. “We invite New Jerseyans to share their insights in-person and online, so we may establish priorities for change moving forward.”
The department said stakeholder input will play an integral role in the NJDOE’s short- and long-term plans for, and improvements to, the statewide assessment program. The NJDOE is particularly interested in perspectives on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which is the current statewide assessment for math and English language arts/literacy. Specifically, they said public input is needed to determine what elements of the statewide assessment program work well, and what areas need improvement.
They announced that the Department has a process of securing contractual partners that are able to meet the design needs informed by the stakeholder feedback gathered over the coming months.
They also said the new assessment has to conform to legal requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. “Federal law requires all states to assess students in grades 3 through 8, and again in high school. As our assessment system continues to evolve and improve, we must adhere to these laws, implement change in an innovative, deliberative and cost-effective way, and build on the high standards we have for all New Jersey students,” Repollet said.
Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on New Jersey’s assessments through multiple options, including:
- Submit interest by May 8 to join a Statewide Assessment Collaborative by following this link.
- Watch an online recorded webinar and complete a feedback questionnaire (details will be forthcoming on the NJDOE Assessments webpage).
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions regarding the statewide assessment program. Specific recommendations to enhance the current program or support for elements of the current program are encouraged.
In addition, the Department announced they will partner with schools and other stakeholder organizations to take part in roundtable discussions and will also reach out to statewide education associations representing school superintendents, principals, teachers, school board members, and parents.
The Department said that feedback and recommendations generated by the first phase of outreach will be collected through June. They also asserted that all input will be considered as they plan for the future of statewide assessments in New Jersey and make initial enhancements to the statewide assessment program in the 2018-19 school year.
“New Jersey’s statewide assessments have been a constantly evolving process ever since they were first instituted in the 1970s,” Repollet added. “With that in mind, we will continue to receive feedback and recommendations, and expect to be able to make additional improvements in coming years.”
A couple of things to note with this announcement last week. First, since the assessment has to be aligned with the state’s academic standards the assessment will still be Common Core-aligned. Second, it appears that the state will at first tweak PARCC so I’m not sure there will be much of a change. Also, they could do what Massachusetts has done and offer some sort of PARCC-hybrid assessment.
I’m not optimistic that the assessment landscape in New Jersey will be significantly changed.