ASSESSMENTS State & District
Assessments, an integral part of education, are strong indicators of student learning. They provide valuable feedback that can guide instructional modification and improvement. Therefore, a sound testing program and its proper administration is crucial to gather valuable information on student learning and their understanding of the content.
The Plainfield Public School’s assessment program caters to different student populations such as General Education students, Bilingual students and Special Education students. Although most of the Bilingual and Special Education students participate in the regular assessment programs, there are a few assessments that are specially designed for these special populations. Also, accommodations and modifications are incorporated throughout the assessment process to meet the specific needs of English Language Learners and students with disabilities. The New Jersey State Department of Education mandates the establishment and administration of statewide assessments in grades 3 through 8 and 11. The district also has its own assessment in the other grade levels.
The following discussion briefly addresses the different assessments that are currently in place for students of Plainfield Public Schools and the test administration procedures, including the test accommodations and modifications that are required for the special populations.
New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge ( NJ ASK 4-8 & Science) Starting in 2014-15 school year NJASKScience only will be administered to Grades 4 and 8. The testing program for grades four through eight ( NJ ASK 4 - 8), as required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This act requires all states to provide a system of assessments for every student in grades 3 through 8. Beginning in March 2006, all students in third grade through eighth grade were tested in Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, while students in fourth and eighth grade were also tested in Science. NJ ASK assesses student achievement in the knowledge and critical thinking skills, as defined by the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. The Science section is composed of Life, Physical and Earth Sciences that measures student knowledge and process skills abilities.
New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT)
The New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT) is a state test given to students to measure whether they have gained the knowledge and skills identified in the Biology section of the Science Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS). The CCCS adopted by the State Board of Education, identify what students should know and be able to do at the end of various benchmark years. In May 2008, all New Jersey public high school students enrolled in a requisite Biology course were required to participate in the End of Course Biology Test, which replaced HSPA Science. In 2010, the End of Course Biology test was renamed New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT). For the NJBCT, all New Jersey public high school students, regardless of grade level, who are enrolled in a Biology course or content equivalent during the school year must take the test, regardless of prior testing exposure and experience.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. These high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.
The 3-8 PARCC assessments will be delivered at each grade level and will be based directly on the Common Core State
Summative Assessment Components:
- Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered after approximately 75% of the school year. The English language arts/literacy (ELA/literacy) PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text. The mathematics PBA will focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings to solve multi-step problems requiring abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance, and strategic use of tools.
- End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approximately 90% of the school year. The ELA/literacy EOY will focus on reading comprehension. The mathematics EOY will call on students to demonstrate further conceptual understanding of the Major Content and Additional and Supporting Content of the grade/course (as outlined in the PARCC Model Content Frameworks ), and demonstrate mathematical fluency, when applicable to the grade.
The high school PARCC assessments will be based directly on the Common Core State Standards Summative Assessment Components:
- Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered after approximately 75% of the school year. The ELA/literacy PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text. The mathematics PBA will focus on expressing mathematical reasoning and modeling real-world problems.
- End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approximately 90% of the school year. The ELA/literacy EOY will focus on reading comprehension. The mathematics EOY will call on students to demonstrate further conceptual understanding of the Major Content and Additional and Supporting Content of the grade/course (as outlined in the PARCC Model Content Frameworks ).
- The high school assessments will include a range of item types, including innovative constructed response, extended performance tasks, and selected response (all of which will be computer based). In addition, there will be college-ready cut scores on high school tests in mathematics and ELA/Literacy, which will signify whether students are ready for entry-level, credit-bearing college coursework. Earlier tests will be aligned vertically to ensure students are on - and stay on - the track to graduating ready for college and careers.
Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA) Science
The Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA) is a portfolio assessment designed to measure progress toward achieving the Core Curriculum Content Standards for Students with Severe Disabilities (CCCSSSD) who are unable to participate in the NJ ASK, or HSPA. The APA process was developed in order to meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA 97) and the No Child Left Behind Act. The APA assesses the content area of Science in grades 4 & 8. Evidence of student performance is collected during instructional activities over the school year. Work samples exemplify each student's abilities as they relate to the standards and to the student's individual education program goals and objectives. Portfolios are scored by New Jersey teachers using a rubric designed to measure student performance and program components in areas identified as important in the education of students with significant disabilities.
Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)
For the 2014-2015 school year, the alternate assessment for students with the most significant intellectual disabilities in English Language Arts and Mathematics is called the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM). The state of New Jersey and 16 other states have been working with the University of Kansas to develop and implement the new assessment system. Periodically, the Department of Education will send updates to Chief School Administrators in order to help districts prepare for this new online computer-based assessment. The DLM Essential Elements, skill statements used for instruction and assessment, are currently available and accessible via the DLM website and the link below. All districts are asked to regularly check the DLM website for available information including test design, technology requirements, professional development modules, and assessment timelines for the current school year operational testing. For information on the DLM and other topics, go to http://www.dynamiclearningmaps.org/newjersey.
Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs)
In the spring of 2006 the state adopted a new assessment for Bilingual and ESL students called Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS for ELLs). This test assess students’ English language proficiency in five areas: Social and Instructional Language, which incorporates proficiencies needed to deal with the general language of the classroom and the school; English / Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. It is a state mandated assessment for all Bilingual and ESL students in grades K through 12. ACCESS for ELLs has replaced the Idea Proficiency Test (IPT) which was used to identify and measure the progress of Limited English Proficient students in mastering the English language. The other English language test currently used for twelfth grade bilingual students who did not pass the HSPA and is involved with the SRA process required for graduation is MAC II. MAC II is an updated version of the Maculaitis Assessment of Competencies, originally published in 1982. This also assesses English proficiency in four major strands of literacy: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. On the elementary and middle school levels the IPT is also used to exit students from the bilingual program and to mainstream them. Online assessments begin in Spring 2015.
District Interim Assessment (DIA)
The District Interim Assessment Program is an integrated system designed to help classroom teachers monitor their students’ attainment of the curriculum standards outlined in New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards (NJCCCS). It consists of three components: Interim Assessment test administered 3 times a year, Professional Development, and resources to classroom teachers to use in creating classroom assessments. The District Interim Assessment Program provides support for instruction in reading, mathematics and science.
Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)
This assessment is a classroom-based reading assessment designed for on-level and struggling students from grades K-8. The primary purpose of this assessment is to help identify students’ skills and plan for timely instruction in reading engagement, fluency, and comprehension; monitor student growth on a variety of crucial skills and strategies that successful readers utilize; prepare students to be successful at meeting today’s classroom and testing expectations; and provide support and forms to keep parents and other stakeholders informed about the level of student reading achievement.
Teaching Strategies Gold—NJKEA
As part of the RTT-ELC grant, The New Jersey Department of Education is implementing a proven observation-based assessment system, Teaching Strategies GOLD®, to assess children’s academic and social development as they enter kindergarten. Teachers are encouraged to continue using Teaching Strategies GOLD® beyond kindergarten entry to measure progress; guide individualized instruction; and assist in curriculum planning, professional development, and interactions with parents. Teaching Strategies GOLD® is an authentic assessment system for children from birth through third grade that will assist New Jersey kindergarten teachers with individualizing instruction in a manner that is both developmentally appropriate and academically rigorous. The instrument covers all essential domains of school readiness and can be used with any developmentally appropriate curriculum. It is based on 38 research-based objectives that include predictors of school success and are aligned with New Jersey’s early learning standards and the Common Core State Standards for kindergarten. The tool helps teachers document children’s development and learning at kindergarten entry and throughout the year, use that information to inform instruction, and communicate findings to families and other stakeholders through easily understood reports for various audiences. The tool can be used with all children, including English- and dual-language learners and children with disabilities. Extensive research conducted by the Center for Educational Measurement and Evaluation at UNC Charlotte shows that Teaching Strategies GOLD® is highly valid and reliable.
Panning Research & Evaluations
Yvonne Breauxsaus, Director Planning Research & Evaluations (Testing)
1200 Myrtle Ave
Plainfield, NJ 07063
(908) 731-4200 Ext. 5177 Fax:(908) 731-4371
Karen Gore, Testing – Ext. 5178
Rose Davis, Secretary – Ext. 5182
Ryan Sears, System Analyst – Ext. 5006