(TRENTON) — Assembly Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Mila M. Jasey (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex) issued a multimedia package Tuesday on a legislative package they sponsored to increase parental awareness of standardized testing usage in state schools and to codify restrictions on standardized testing use in primary school.
The first bill (A-3077), sponsored by Jasey and Vainieri Huttle, would help ensure that all parents and guardians of K-12 students are provided timely, accessible and clear information about the frequency, costs, purpose and length of the standardized assessments that students will be required to take during the school year.
The second bill (A-3079), sponsored by Jasey and Diegnan, would codify a prohibition on school districts administering “commercially developed” standardized tests to K-2 students in New Jersey. It would not prohibit classroom teachers or boards of education from developing or utilizing other non-commercial assessments, quizzes and tests.
The multimedia package consists of the sponsors discussing their legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from the members is appended below:
Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey (D-Essex), Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair:
“Parents are the first and most important teachers in a child’s life. Parents need to know what’s happening in the schools.
“Parents would find out first, what tests are going to be given during the school year; when they’re going to be given; how much time it’s going to take out of the classroom. And one of the concerns that parents have and one of the reasons that this issue is so important is the growing concern among parents and teachers about how much instructional time is being lost to test prep.”
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen):
“At the very least, what we can do is have parents K-12 be informed about what their child is being tested upon; what the results will mean for their student academically.
“And it’s always important for the parents to be involved in their child’s education because, quite frankly, they have an investment and they want to know what the school and the district is doing for their child, not only academically and socially, but why these tests are important.”
“Right now, here in the State of New Jersey, K-2 children are not being given standardized tests. However, it’s come to our attention that in some districts, teachers are using standardized tests to, again, get the kids ready for the test that begins in third grade. That’s just not appropriate for K-2 school age children.”
Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex), Assembly Education Committee Chair:
“Up through second grade really children are just in the learning mode and it’s really not an appropriate time to test. So, really this particular bill puts a absolute hold on administering standardized tests for any child from K-2 and clearly it should not be imposed on somebody who’s in kindergarten, first grade or second grade.”
“I’m not one of those legislators that likes to legislate common sense, but we want children to love being in school, we want them to be excited about learning and we don’t want to make them think that school is all about taking tests.”