WEST WINDSOR, May 14, 2016—Delegates to the New Jersey School Boards Association’s semi-annual meeting today voted to enhance existing NJSBA policy, which supports alternatives to the statewide assessment that measures student progress toward state academic standards.

One hundred forty-six (146) local school board representatives attended the Delegate Assembly at the Conference Center at Mercer, on the Mercer County Community College campus. The Delegate Assembly is the major policy-setting body for NJSBA, a federation of the state’s local boards of education.

State Testing Acting on a proposal from the Highland Park Board of Education, the delegates called for the state to continue to provide alternatives to the current statewide assessment when determining eligibility for high school graduation. New Jersey’s assessment is the PARCC test. The new NJSBA policy does not seek a change in the state assessment, but rather calls for additional measures to be available to determine eligibility for graduation. The State Board of Education is currently considering proposed requirements concerning the use of a statewide assessment in determining future eligibility for graduation.

The delegates’ action results in the following policy, addressing the use of the statewide assessment to determine eligibility for high school graduation:

“The NJSBA believes the state should provide alternative methods of achieving state and federal requirements for graduation, not based only on standardized tests, such as the Alternate High School Assessment or portfolio assessment.

“The NJSBA further believes that parents should have input into decisions regarding the methods of assessment used, but that the ultimate authority to decide these methods must rest with local boards of education.”

The resolution was supported by 85 percent of the delegates.

Compulsory Attendance In other action, the delegates voted to support the concept that local school boards be given the option to require compulsory school attendance beyond the current state-required age of 16.

Proposed by the Neptune Township Board of Education, the newly approved policy enables NJSBA to seek legislation that would give a local school board the option to raise the drop-out age for the students in its district’s schools.

In its proposal, the Neptune Township school board cited research showing that higher compulsory attendance ages improve overall college entrance rates and career outcomes.

Action by the NJSBA delegates guides the Association in advocacy before the state Legislature, Congress and the courts.

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The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.

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