The New Jersey Board of Education and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet have reached a compromise on PARCC testing. (See here for the contentious background.) Repollet wanted, per Governor Murphy’s promise to NJEA, to reduce the number of end-of-course tests that students take in high school from six to two. (Those tests would be 10th grade English language arts and Algebra 1, which some students take in 8th or 9th grade).
Advocates for educational improvement wanted a high school diploma to actually signify readiness for work or college. But many of us are scarred by experience, accustomed to NJEA’s untoward influence on Murphy as well as previous governors. While the State BOE made a strong stand for students last month, we half-expected the group to eventually comply with Repollet’s proposal to limit measurements of student proficiency to the minimum required by federal law.
Instead there’s a compromise: Students in high school will take both ELA 9 and ELA 10, as well as end-of-course assessments in Math 9 and 10 (i.e., Algebra 1 and Geometry or Geometry and Algebra 2). From six tests to four, not six tests to two. And it sounds like passing ELA 10 and Algebra 1 will remain graduation requirements.
Here’s statements from two groups that value meaningful high school diplomas over kowtowing to special interests.
JerseyCAN’s Patricia Morgan
Today’s compromise reduces the overall number of assessments while still ensuring that we are getting important data that will improve student outcomes and prepare students for college and the workforce. We applaud Senator Ruiz, Senate President Sweeney, Commissioner Repollet and the State Board of Education for carefully deliberating this important issue and keeping the focus on enabling greater student achievement and through data and assessments that can enhance educational outcomes. As we innovate to the next generation assessment it is critical that we keep our focus on reimagining an education system that puts every student, regardless of their zipcode, on the path towards success.
Better Education For Kids’ Shelley Skinner
New Jersey children need and deserve to be challenged to meet high expectations for academic excellence. Rigor and well thought out objective standards that prepare all students for college and career readiness is critical for building a strong middle class and growing New Jersey’s economic competiveness.
Today’s decision is another step in empowering teachers, students and parents to improve educational outcomes and reduce New Jersey’s persistent achievement gap.
This outcome would not be possible without the continued dedication and leadership of Senator Ruiz and Senate President Sweeney working in partnership with Commissioner Repolette and the State Board of Education.
Better Education for Kids looks forward to the continuing stakeholder discussions on developing the next generation of assessments to ensure that every New Jersey student leaves high school fully prepared to enter college or the workforce.”