Over 700,000 New Jersey elementary through high school students are being tested in March and April as part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate that requires annual testing in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and once in high school. The results of the tests will determine whether each school and district is making yearly progress toward the law’s goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2004.
Nearly 90,000 high school juniors took the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) earlier this month. About 104,000 students also completed the Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA) to assess the skills and knowledge they have attained by eighth grade, and about 200,000 students will complete the third- and fourth-grade tests by tomorrow.
First time testing This year marks the first time that New Jersey will administer an NCLB-required test for students in grades 5-7. Approximately 309,500 students will take that test on April 1.
Acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy has appointed a statewide Assessment Advisory Panel to develop a policy and vision for a new statewide assessment system that would be more educationally useful for parents, teachers and administrators.
“The state spends millions of dollars on these tests and we need more value from this investment than just a compliance tool for federal reporting requirements,” she said. “Schools should be able to use the results in the future to adjust their instructional practices so that students can achieve at higher levels.”