The New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and took action on the following items at its December meeting:
2022-2023 Statewide Assessment Overview: The New Jersey Department of Education reviewed with the state board the results of various assessments. The first one that the department addressed was the ACCESS for English language learner assessments that serve as New Jersey’s English language proficiency assessments as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act and N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.10(b). ACCESS for ELLs is administered in grades K–12 to students who have been identified as English learners. English learners are students whose native language is not English, and they have varying degrees of English language proficiency in any one of the language domains of speaking, reading, writing, or listening. ACCESS for ELLs measures English proficiency growth tied to the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment English language proficiency standards, which are aligned to the academic content area standards. An overall composite cut score of 4.5 (on a scale from 1 to 6) on the ACCESS for ELLs assessment is used as one of multiple measures by which English learner students are exited from program services in New Jersey. The NJDOE also reviewed the Dynamic Learning Maps assessments, which is for the students with the most significant cognitive disabilities for whom general state assessments are not appropriate, even with accommodations. The NJDOE also reviewed the results of the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment. The NJGPA is designed to measure the extent to which students are graduation ready in English language arts and mathematics. Graduation readiness is reported separately for each content component. The ELA component is aligned to the grade 10 standards. The mathematics component is aligned to algebra I and geometry standards. The results of the NJSLA were also reviewed. The NJDOE noted that overall student performance has improved from 2022 to 2023 and credited educators with providing their students with social, emotional and academic supports as they recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Update on Statewide Initiatives to Address Learning Acceleration: The State Board heard an update on the “New Jersey Partnership for Student Success,” which is an effort to provide learning acceleration to students as a result of the pandemic. The NJPSS consists of the following key areas: acceleration, partnerships, educator empowerment, universal preschool and youth mental health. High impact tutoring is one part of that acceleration effort with $41 million awarded to approximately 240 districts. Reading acceleration professionally integrated development expands teachers’ knowledge of reading in the elementary schools. The NJDOE is also offering additional professional development opportunities in special education, particularly centered around New Jersey’s tiered systems of support. New Jersey is also partnering with higher education providers to provide support. The NJDOE is also helping educators by waiving certification fees and providing other flexibilities.
Residency: The State Board began discussions on updating the rules concerning student residency, brought about in part by L. 2023 c. 61, which requires payment of tuition for certain nonresident students. The proposed regulations require a district board of education to apply the policies for determining a student’s residency consistently for all students, regardless of the school of attendance, including charter schools, renaissance school projects, and out-of-district placements. The proposed regulations also clarify that school districts cannot apply different policies for students who do not attend schools operated by the school district.