(TRENTON) — Assembly Democrats Timothy J. Eustace (D-Bergen), Joseph A. Lagana (D-Bergen) and Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) issued a multimedia package Friday on their legislation that would temporarily defer the use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment to measure student achievement in the Garden State.
The sponsors chose to highlight the benefits of the proposed three-year moratorium on utilizing the test results with PARCC testing set to begin Monday for all students in New Jersey in grades 3-8. The PARCC is replacing the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge and is being administered to all New Jersey students in grades 3-11 throughout March.
The bill (A-4190) would prohibit the state Department of Education (DOE) from using the PARCC test to determine a student’s placement in a gifted and talented program; placement in another program or intervention; grade promotion; as the state graduation proficiency test; any other school or district-level decision that affects students; or as a component of any evaluation rubric submitted to the state Commissioner of Education for three years beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.
The multimedia package consists of the sponsors discussing PARCC and their legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of the members’ comments is appended below:
Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic):
“The PARCC test is an assessment of readiness for college and careers; allegedly. At this point what we’re seeing is some of the testing is above the grade level and the emotional maturity of some of the children that are taking the test. So, we’re trying to hone in on how to make it work best.”
Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic):
“So, there’s a lot of concerns about young children being able to take this test and about schools actually having the proper infrastructure to implement the test.
“So, it’s very problematic and when you’re talking to parents and educators about the stress on the kids and about the effect of a lot of students who are maybe doing particularly well are now taking these tests and finding it very difficult because it’s showing that they’re not really keeping up to where their grades are.
“And it’s highly problematic for parents, as you can expect. And it’s problematic for teachers because teachers are supposed to be evaluated on this. And you could have, you know, excellent students now taking more and more standardized tests that really don’t reflect the type of student they are.”
Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic):
“We’re not saying to stop testing cause we need gauging on our students and, quite frankly, our teachers. And I think that everybody is on the same page as that.
“But what we’re saying is let’s slow down and see how this PARCC testing works out. Because it hasn’t been proven yet. And so, we’re going to test it out for three years, we’re putting a moratorium on ’em, where they take the test but they’re not held accountable just yet.”
“My hope for the moratorium is to straighten out the amount of standardized tests that we’re going to give children, which standardized tests we’re going to use and how to use them. Children are taking lots of standardized tests at this point and the idea is: let’s have one that does what it’s designed to do, which is hold teachers accountable and see if our children are learning at the rate they should be learning.
“So the idea is to try and have a more holistic approach and not necessarily just test the heck out of our kids and have our teachers just basically prepping the kids for the test as opposed to having them critically think their way through their education.”