At its July meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and acted on the following items:
Election of president and vice president: The State Board elected Kathy Goldenberg as president and Andrew Mulvihill as vice president. This is the fifth consecutive year for both in their respective positions.
Bilingual education: The State Board adopted amended rules concerning bilingual education. All school districts are required to provide students who are identified as multilingual learners with the services they need to meet or exceed the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. These rules describe the school district’s specific obligations to support multilingual learners. The chapter’s general provisions include the process for identifying students who may be multilingual learns, placement of multilingual learners in language instruction educational programs and the process for exiting a student from such a program and multilingual learner identification status. N.J.A.C. 6A:15 provides requirements for school districts to engage families, including notification of their children’s identification and placement into a language instruction educational program, as well as the opportunity to be a part of the parent advisory committee.
Dynamic Learning Maps: The State Board discussed the cutoff scores for the Dynamic Learning Maps assessment, the alternative assessment for those special education students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The state requires all students in grades three through high school be assessed in English language arts and mathematics, and students enrolled in grade five, grade eight, and high school be assessed in science. Under federal law, the state may provide for alternate assessments aligned with the challenging state academic standards and alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
Praxis qualifying scores: The State Board discussed the qualifying scores for the Praxis teacher subject matter exam. The Educational Testing Service recently revised and established new recommended qualifying scores for revised tests in the subject areas of Praxis general science, biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth sciences to replace the current tests used by the New Jersey Department of Education. Additionally, the State Board discussed the cutoff score for the Praxis for computer science.
ASVAB: The commissioner of education updated the State Board on efforts to include the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a multiple-aptitude battery of tests that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military, as one of the alternative pathways to meet the state’s graduation assessment requirement. Earlier this year, the ASVAB was eliminated as an alternative pathway due to the unavailability of data from the U.S. Department of Defense needed to establish cut scores for the exam. The commissioner indicated that conversations with the Department of Defense regarding this issue are ongoing and expressed optimism that the situation may be resolved.