Chatham Board of Education Discusses Standardized Testing
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 • 6:59am
CHATHAM, NJ - The annual state standardized testing reports were the focus of the Chatham School Board meeting on Monday night.
A new test is being designed to better assess education results of New Jersey students in comparison to other states.
The Partnership for Assessments of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is the newest test in development and is set to be put into effect by the 2014 school year.
This new test would replace the current exams, the New Jersey Assessment Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) and the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
Very little information has been released by the state on the development of the PARCC, however, it is known that some portions of the test if not all, will be taken with a computer. There will also be two parts of the test, one to be done in late February and the other in late May. All of the results are to be given back to the school district and the parents by the end of the school year. The current exam scores are given back in mid summer.
The PARCC’s goal is to assess the progression of the student’s learning over time in comparison to their peers. Additionally, students’ performance on the PARCC will also be used to assess their teachers and can affect teacher tenure. However, the extent that the students’ grades will have in the teachers will be up to the school
board to decide.
The main question posed by the board in relation to the PARCC, was in regards to the wording of the title of the test. The PARCC’s title is misleading, as it states that it is assessing “College and Career” readiness, yet, kids as young as in third grade will be evaluated with this test. The board’s concern was how appropriate will the questions be per grade level on the PARCC examination.
Overall, last years NJASK and HSPA outcomes showed results above the other towns in the district grouping of towns that are comparable to Chatham. These results were most prominent in the areas of language arts, special education and science.
Math had the lowest improved results, with the exception of special education.
In an individual grade level breakdown of the NJASK results, the fourth grade had the lowest results, but did show improvements.
Advanced Placemat (AP) tests were also spoken of in the meeting. In the past six years the number of students who take AP tests has doubled in Chatham, with 88 percent of the students scoring a 3 or better.
In other action:
The board began the meeting by acknowledging many teachers who were recognized for being distinguished teachers and had reached their third year mark in the district.