The New Jersey State Board of Education met on March 4, hearing updates on the following items:

Preview of Perkins V Plan The State Board of Education heard an update on the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) Perkins Plan. The Perkins V plan is a federal education program that invests in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs in all 50 states and the territories. It is dedicated to increasing learner access to high-quality CTE programs of study with a focus on program improvement; alignment across K-12, postsecondary and workforce; and economic development. The NJSBA testified in support of the plan. Among its goals, the draft Perkins V plan seeks to provide local communities with a stronger voice in education policy decisions; increase access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and computer science curricula; expand career readiness through the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network and career pathways; and expand access to community colleges for high school students.

2018-2019 School Performance Reports  The NJDOE unveiled improved school performance reports, including a statewide science assessment. The new reports place emphasis on progress with new pages showing progress on student growth, proficiency, and graduation rates over the last three years including:

  • Expanded data that allows comparisons between additional student groups (e.g. gender, homeless students, students in foster care) for student growth, chronic absenteeism, graduation rates, and career and technical education program participation.
  • More information including participation in computer science and information technology courses and school-level, per-pupil expenditures.
  • Additional resources to help explain where the data in the reports comes from and how it’s calculated.

Concerning the statewide science assessment, the NJSLA-Science is a federally required state assessment administered to students in grades 5, 8, and 11. NJDOE will release this year’s School Performance Reports on www.njschooldata.org, which reflect the 2018-2019 school year and include detailed and summary reports for all public schools and districts.

Resolution to Accept Donated Funds — The State Board adopted the resolution approving the acceptance of up to $75,000 in donated funds from the New Jersey Education Association to support the work of the Amistad Commission.

Revised Scores for State-issued Diplomas– The State Board passed a resolution adjusting the passing score for one of the three pathways for adults to receive their high school diploma. The approved tests, with their associated vendors in parentheses, are:

  • GED – General Education Development (Pearson), which was the only assessment in years prior, but is now updated to align to the Common Core State Standards.
  • HiSET – High School Equivalency Test (ETS).
  • TASC – Test Assessing Secondary Completion (McGraw Hill, which is now known as Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).

The NJDOE is adjusting the passing score for these tests to be in line with scores required by other states that offer these tests.

Resolution to Adopt the Annual Religious Holidays Calendar – The State Board discussed the resolution pertaining to the annual calendar of religious holidays for the 2020/2021 school year. Law provides that:  Any student absent from school because of a religious holiday may not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award because of such absence.  Students who miss a test or examination because of absence on a religious holiday must be given the right to take an alternate test or examination.

Special Education – The State Board discussed the readoption with amendments pertaining to the rules concerning the services, programs, and instruction, including educational and related services, provided to students with disabilities. The proposal clarifies that students with disabilities will participate in each content area of the general statewide assessment, except for students who are participating in the alternate assessment for students with disabilities.  The proposal also clarifies that students with disabilities, like all students, will not be required to participate in repeated administrations of the high school assessment components.

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