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Caride, Jasey, Eustace & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Eliminate Standardized Tests as Measuring Stick for Teacher Effectiveness Approved by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Marlene Caride, Mila Jasey, Tim Eustace and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to eliminate the use of standardized assessments as a measure of student growth or progress in evaluations of teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals was approved Monday by the Assembly Education Committee.

For the past two years, the NJ Department of Education has limited to 10 percent the usage of PARCC, New Jersey’s standardized assessment, in determining student progress as a factor in teachers’ evaluations. The test now counts for 30 percent of the overall evaluation. Approximately 15 percent of New Jersey educators will have PARCC results factored into their evaluations.

“There is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic), who chairs the committee. “Teachers should be held accountable via a rigorous evaluation system, but standardized testing should not be included in that system.”

The bill (A-4122) would provide that standardized assessments may not be used as a measure of student growth or progress in the evaluation of a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal.

“The PARCC test that the state is using to evaluate teachers was never intended to be used in this manner, but instead to give better information to teachers and parents to promote effective individualized student learning,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “By using this test for evaluations, we compromise its questionable effectiveness for meaningful feedback entirely.”

“Using test scores to evaluate teachers puts pressure on teachers to teach to the test, which takes away from invaluable classroom instruction and learning,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “If the end goal is to ensure teachers are indeed reaching their students, then let’s use measures that will give us a more accurate glimpse of who is doing a good job, and who is lacking.”

“Weighing the effectiveness of teachers on a test that has been largely chastised by parents and educators alike is problematic,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Teachers should be held accountable. But we are doing a disservice to our students by largely relying on a questionable exam, instead of proven measures that take into account all the variables that go into effective teaching.”

The bill would take effect immediately.