Please CLICK HERE to ask U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to grant New Jersey's request for a standardized testing waiver this year.
Thanks to your emails and phone calls, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) requested waivers from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to enable our students to skip annual standardized testing this spring, and to avoid the high stakes associated with those tests.
Yesterday, USDOE granted New Jersey's request for a waiver on the high stakes. The USDOE is still deciding whether to grant New Jersey's request for a standardized testing waiver.
Please CLICK HERE to ask U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to grant New Jersey's request for a standardized testing waiver.
Why New Jersey needs a testing waiver
Superintendents, principals and teachers across New Jersey have spoken out against standardized testing this spring, pointing out that it is not necessary because “districts already collect considerable data on students that can be used to pinpoint needs in the face of the pandemic and the loss of instruction time, be it remote or in-person.”
Administering the tests would also be a logistical nightmare as so many New Jersey students are learning remotely. In a preview of those challenges, many students who took AP exams remotely last spring were unable to submit their answers, had problems logging into the testing platform, and experienced issues with Internet connectivity.
Many more students would be taking this spring’s NJSLA tests (formerly known as PARCC) than took AP exams. The NJSLA is also a much longer test than the 45-minute AP exams. Students taking NJSLA would be younger as the tests start in 3rd grade versus high school. Finally, students taking the NJSLA would be less likely to have access to functioning computers and a good internet connection, exacerbating economic inequities in test results.
There also is no clear path for how to proctor remote administration of the NJSLA. Researchers have identified many problems with the technology used to proctor remote exams, including invasion of privacy and questions of data confidentiality and racial bias built into some monitoring software.
New Jersey students of all ages have had their learning significantly disrupted by the pandemic and are experiencing unprecedented levels of economic and health anxiety and stress. Administering a statewide standardized assessment under the current circumstances will not produce valid or useful information and will only further reduce the already limited time available for effective teaching and learning.