At its October meeting, the State Board of Education heard updates and took action on the following items:

  • Standards and Assessment—The State Board tabled a proposal that would have made substantial changes to the NJDOE’s proposed regulations concerning standards and assessment. In November 2018, the NJDOE proposed amendments to the rules regarding the statewide assessment system and state high school graduation assessment requirements.The proposed amendments reflected the transition by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to the next generation of state assessments. As a part of this transition, the NJDOE proposed to simplify graduation requirements and to clarify assessment requirements for English language learner (ELL) students and students with disabilities. The NJDOE proposed at that time to maintain state assessments in grades three through 10, including the state assessments required to graduate high school — Algebra I and English language arts (ELA) in grade 10.Under the rulemaking, students taking the state ELA 10 and Algebra I assessments who did not achieve a passing score on one or both assessments would have been eligible to access the menu of substitute competency assessments and the portfolio appeals process. The proposed amendments would have ensured that the menu of substitute competency assessments available to the class of 2019 and 2020 remained an option for students in the classes of 2020 through 2025.In December 2018, the Appellate Division of Superior Court issued an opinion requiring that the NJDOE comply with the state statute that requires an 11th grade assessment. Therefore, the NJDOE is now proposing substantial changes to the amendments to establish graduation pathways for the classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 that comply with state law. The NJDOE proposes to administer to students in grade 11 – starting in the 2021-2022 school year – a state graduation proficiency test that is aligned, at a minimum, to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for ELA 10 and Algebra I and administered according to state law.The NJDOE proposes to maintain the menu of substitute competency assessments for students in the classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 who take but do not achieve a passing score on the state graduation proficiency test. As in previous years, the portfolio appeals process also will be available to students. The NJDOE also will maintain the state assessments in grades three through nine.The tabled proposal may be reconsidered by the State Board at a future meeting.
  • Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Membership Month—The State Board of Education passed a resolution recognizing the New Jersey PTA, its 118-year history and the 115,000 members across the state.
  • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update—N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) staff briefly updated the State Board on New Jersey’s federal ESSA plan. The NJDOE has provided greater school accountability through the school performance reports that break down the school data by student group and grade.  Such a breakdown offers the opportunity to highlight not only the strength of student and school performance, but also highlight needs as well.
  • Appointments—The State Board appointed the following staff to the following positions:
    • Salma Chand, executive legal affairs officer, Division of Executive Services;
    • Julie Bunt, director, office of charter and renaissance schools, Division of Executive Services;
    • Martin Egan, director, office of grants management, Division of Finance;
    • Christopher Cox, director, office of STEM, Division of Academics and Performance; and
    • Rani Singh, director, office of certification and induction, Division of Academics and Performance.
  • New Proficient Level Cut Scores for the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment Science (NJSLA-S) – The State Board has required that all students enrolled in grade 5, grade 8, and high school be assessed in science. The NJDOE recently established new tests to replace the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge for Science (NJ ASK) and the New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT) that were in place previously. As a result, the State Board established new cut scores for this updated assessment.
  • Water Safety Endorsement—The State Board discussed changes to the water safety instructor endorsement. The proposal provides a third option for candidates who are required to hold the swimming and water safety endorsement to the instructional certificate. This endorsement allows a candidate to serve as a coach for interscholastic swimming and/or diving programs. Specifically, the NJDOE proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-11.10, swimming and water safety, to make the flotation-aided swim training program (FAST) one of three acceptable issuers of the water safety instructor certificate.
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