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Schools’ Standardised Test Results in New Jersey Are Made Public

Long-awaited results from the state’s spring standardised tests were released by the New Jersey Department of Education on Friday, a move activists have called important for planning the best strategies to recover learning deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Collaborative for Student Success, which tracks the publication of such scores, reports that New Jersey, along with Vermont and Maine, was among the last three states to share their results on their public dashboards.

N.J. education department releases school-by-school test scores

School-by-school data had been requested by advocates, politicians, and members of the state board of education. Department of Education grade-level results were released last week, revealing a seven-year regression in student achievement since they were first made available to districts and families in the fall.

The most exhaustive findings come from the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments in English/Language Arts for grades 3-9, Mathematics for grades 3-8 plus Geometry and Algebra I and II, and Science for grades 5, 8, and 11.

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There are five distinct skill levels indicated by the scores. As for the first three, they are “not yet meeting requirements,” “partially meeting requirements,” and “approaching expectations.” Levels 4 and 5 (i.e., “meeting expectations” and “exceeding expectations”) are the benchmarks at which students are judged to be proficient

The data is broken out by school, district, and state, as well as by gender, race/ethnicity/socioeconomic position, special education/English language learner status, and more.

As an example, 52.7% of students in the seventh grade were found to have achieved proficiency or higher in English/Language Arts.
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The achievement difference between economically disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students was 26.4%.

The data was altered to ensure that no individual pupils’ identities were revealed. Union spokesman for New Jersey’s largest teachers’ group, Steven Baker, argued that while it’s useful to reflect on the last year, settling on a course of action is far more pressing.

He warned that a lack of trained teachers could slow recovery efforts as the country emerged from the pandemic.

Betsy Ginsburg, who heads the Garden State Coalition of Schools and represents roughly one hundred districts, anticipated the findings would aid schools in refining their efforts to address the emotional and social consequences of academic lag.

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She emphasised that the test results should not be used in a derogatory or political manner that would further discourage teachers and pupils. Test results “are at best snapshots of time and do not capture the complete picture of where our students are now or where they will be in the future,” the authors write.

Paula White, executive director of JerseyCAN, an education advocacy group, called it a “sobering day for the condition of education” in the state, and she stressed the importance of information and transparency in determining next moves.

N.J. education department releases school-by-school test scores

Although “one might slow down the sharing of knowledge, even dump information the Friday before the holiday season,” she noted, “facts still matter.” Although we should have begun discussing this issue several months ago, the actual job will begin tomorrow.

She said that she and other advocates will work to make education New Jersey’s top priority, saying, “we will do all in our power to help build a truly all-hands-on-deck plan to address New Jersey’s learning problem.”

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The state has also issued exam results for the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment, the ACCESS test for English language learners, and the Dynamic Learning Map test for children with special needs.

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Marissa Figgs
I write picture books, for middle grade, and young adults, some of which have won prizes, been filmed, or become bestsellers. I've ghostwritten for Pixar and developed teen work for Alloy Entertainment. I think heartfelt writing is the finest. It doesn't have to be personal, but it must be visceral. You want them riveted from the first word, page, or sentence, no matter how painful or unpleasant, and that's my expertise.
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