Assessment Preparation Protocol
A comprehensive, rigorous cycle of assessment is paramount to the mission and vision of NJASCS. In order to measure the effectiveness of the academic program and to monitor students’ progress towards achieving - and exceeding – grade-level standards, the establishment of a culture of data-driven instruction and assessment is paramount to the school’s mission and vision.
By utilizing a combination of diagnostic, formative, summative, and performance-based assessments,
(predominantly using computer-based assessment format, complimented by paper-based format for select assessments), clear, holistic, and accurate data is readily available; the assessment system serves as the key component to measure the effectiveness of the academic program and to monitor students’ progress towards achieving and exceeding grade-level standards. Frequent monitoring of student progress and the use of assessment data to set specific learning goals to prescribe individualized action plans for learning are both research-based best-practices.
State-Mandated Assessments – 3-11
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Performance-Based Assessment (PBA), PARCC End-of-Year Assessment (EOY)
PARCC Non-Summative Speaking and Listening Assessment (ELA/literacy only)NJASK Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test, NJASK Grade 8 Intermediate Science Test, WIDA ACCESS Test for English Language Learners.
Optional State-Adopted Assessments:
PARCC Diagnostic Assessment, PARCC Mid-Year Assessment (MYA) (2015-2016) College Board AP Exams.
Note: PARCC will create Formative Assessment Tools in Grades K-1 that will be field tested in early 2015 and available for use in the 2015-16 school year. NJASCS intends to incorporate these resources into the testing protocol.
administers the MAP Diagnostic Assessment upon enrollment to measure the degree of mastery of the learning standards and to evaluate the academic needs of each incoming class. Results will be combined with students’ records from previous schools, along with student interviews and parent-provided data to establish individual student portfolios. Teachers will develop individual learning goals for each student and learning plans for each class based on the results of the MAP Diagnostic Assessment. Moreover, the administrative staff will adjust the curriculum pacing guides to best reflect the needs of the students. As per the NJ Department of Education, this information is vital to establish the targets in the goal-setting process for developing Student Growth Objectives (SGO’s) for the year.
Likewise, the PARCC MYA will serve as a midpoint snapshot of student progress. This assessment will provide critical data along the continuum of grade-level expectations; data garnered from this assessment will be used to drive standards-based future instruction leading up to the PARCC EOY.
Two Full-length, computer-based PARCC PBA and PARCC EOY simulations, one month prior to the testing window for the formal exam.
Two full-length, computer-based practice assessments will mirror the format, content, and style of the PARCC EOY and the PARCC PBA. These exams will be developed in-house by content are-specialists in math, English, and science, with adaptive software (i.e., Pearson, People’s Education, and NWEA). These programs will allow for complete customization of assessments based upon curricula and the individualized needs of the students. As with PARCC, these practice assessments will include a range of item types, including innovative constructed response, extended performance tasks, and selected response tasks (all of which will be computer-based).
School-Developed/Prescribed Local Assessments
Benchmark assessments (unit, final exams), monthly writing exams, digital and traditional performance-based assessments, running records (reading fluency), IEP-referenced alternate assessments and diagnostic tools for students with disabilities (as developed in an IEP team with the student’s district of residence) such as student portfolio assessment, ELL assessments to determine proficiency in English (for identified students) , teacher observations, teacher-prepared assessments, writing portfolios.
The comprehensive assessment program allows for all stakeholders to accurately measure if NJASCS is meeting its mission of academic success. This data, in turn, will inform the decision-making process at the school. Just as teachers use the information to gauge their students’ progress and identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, each school uses this information in the aggregate to do the same.
Once tests are administered and results are available, a variety of software programs compile data into user-friendly reports which provide targeted analysis by grade, class, individual students, and by standard and/or question. The School Assessment Coordinator guides teachers through the compilation of all reports from school-wide assessments, and these reports are readily available to school administrators. Rubrics are employed for all tasks that are project-based in nature. These rubrics are developed by teacher teams under the guidance of administration to clearly reflect expectations of standards-mastery in alignment with the CCSS.
Once provided with the data, the following questions to guide the instructional staff include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How well did the class perform as a whole?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses evidenced within specific standards/skills?
- Do results differ depending on question types (multiple-choice vs. open-ended, comprehension vs. writing)?
- Identify students performing at PARCC PLD’s; How can teachers best create flexible-skill groups for students that have distinguished, strong, moderate, or partial command of the learning standard?
- How can we utilize our students to best support one another?
- Targeted distractors: Did students all select the same incorrect answer?
- Compare similar standards/skills; do results in one domain influence the others?
- Unwrap each standard and defragment each skill; did students perform similarly on lower-order vs. higher-order questions?
- Sort data by performance in specific items/specific-standards; do trends in the data emerge?
- Examine data horizontally by student; are there any anomalies occurring with individual students?
Following data analysis, each teacher (under the guidance of content-area specialists and school administrators) will design individualized, prescriptive action plans for improvement. Teachers will consider standards/skills (based upon the percentage of student mastery) for whole-group re-teach, small-group remediation, and for one-on-one instruction.
Next, grade-level teams will complete similar grade-team action plans. In these team action plans, grade-level teachers will design and implement cross-curricular strategies to support students. Teachers of all content areas will use common academic and content-specific vocabulary in their lessons.
Beginning in Kindergarten, efficacy will be ingrained in the student body. Students will take an active role in monitoring their progress by understanding the S.M.A.R.T. goals for their learning (specific, measurable, attainable, rigorous, and timely); these goals will be prescribed by their teachers. For example, students will be provided rubrics in student-friendly language and images that will clearly identify the necessary components to advance to the next level. Ongoing review of the holistic assessment program will include evaluation and feedback provided by content-area specialists, curriculum supervisors, administrators, teachers, student evaluation, and, where appropriate, peer-evaluation of student work. Centrally-designed benchmark examinations that align to the learning standards included within each unit will allow administration, faculty, students, and parents to track where student progress is being made, and where improvement is needed. As a point of focus, the Board of Trustees will use this data to monitor student progress in reaching the targeted academic goals set by the Board at the inception of the school year.
NJASCS PARCC POLICY, SPRING 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This year, a new computer-based test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment, will replace the paper-and-pencil High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics. NJASCS will administer the two-part PARCC assessments in both March and May to all students in grades 3 through 11 in English Language Arts, and in grades 3-8 in mathematics, plus and end-of-course PARCC assessment for high school students enrolled in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. There will be no PARCC testing prior to 3rd grade.
All NJASCS schools have prepared for the transition to PARCC by upgrading our technology, working closely with the teachers who will administer the test, and preparing students for the conversion to computer-based assessments. Our students and teachers in selected grades had previous experience with PARCC when the assessments were field-tested in both Bergen ASCS and Passaic ASCS middle school campuses last spring.
The following pages include answers to questions received by both the New Jersey School Boards Association and NJASCS from parents regarding the new PARCC assessments. We have included information specific to our schools regarding testing dates and expectations of student participation. Please note that we have spaced the English and mathematics assessements into separate weeks so that your students would have a break between content-area sessions, and would be well-rested and prepared to do their very best. Rest assured that we have taken every step possible to ensure a smooth administration of the assessments for the educational benefit of your children.
Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your school administration.
The NJASCS Academic Team
PARCC Assessments: What You Need to Know
March Performance-Based Assessments (PBA)
All daily testing windows are from 8:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, MARCH 12TH
TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND THURSDAY, MARCH 17TH
, AND 19TH
MAKE-UP PARCC PBA TESTING WINDOW
THURSDAY, MARCH 19TH
-THURSDAY, MARCH 26TH
May End-of-Year Assessments (EOY)
(Grades 9-11 EOY schedule to be released by March 15th, and is contingent upon College Board AP Exams)
All daily testing windows are from 8:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, MAY 7TH
TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY, MAY 12TH
MAKE-UP PARCC EOY TESTING WINDOW
THURSDAY, MAY 14TH
-THURSDAY, MAY 21ST
How long will testing take?
The state has set aside a total of 10 hours per year for PARCC testing. Most students are expected to complete PARCC testing in less than the 10 hours allotted. For example, statewide, over half of students in grades 6 through 11 are predicted to finish all PARCC testing in 7 hours, while most third graders are expected to complete testing in 6 hours. More time has been allocated for PARCC testing because the new assessments measure progress toward all of the standards, not just a sampling of standards, as was the case with NJASK.
When will the state tests take place?
The PARCC assessments will be administered to students in two windows, in March and May.
In March, each child will participate in five testing sessions of 60 to 90 minutes each. The March tests, the Performance-Based (PBA) assessments, require written answers in which the students construct and explain their answers. While the tests will be taken on computers, children will have paper and pencil to use if they want to work out math problems, draft written answers, or outline essay responses before entering them on computers.
In May, children will be given the End-of-Year (EOY) assessments, largely multiple-choice questions that assess their learning for the entire school year. These tests are shorter in duration and will take place in four sessions per student.
How will NJASCS students take the test?
The PARCC tests are designed to be taken on computer. This mirrors the national movement toward computer-based testing, which will also affect college admissions tests and high school equivalency exams in the future. In our district, students will mostly be using Chromebooks in grades 3-8; students at the high school will be using iPads with a Bluetooth keyboard. Students will enter responses on the device, but will have pencil and paper available in order to formulate responses beforehand if they choose to do so.
How will NJASCS use the PARCC results?
The PARCC results will enable our district to evaluate the effectiveness of its education program in mathematics and language arts and to consider adjustments.
PARCC results will help teachers pinpoint areas in which an individual student needs more attention. For example, test data will enable an elementary school teacher to know if a student requires attention in a specific application, such as multiplication and division, in addition to his or her overall progress toward grade-level math standards. PARCC results can also guide teachers to individualize instruction for students who exceed grade-level standards, and may be used as a piece of supporting data in the holistic selection of students to participate in advanced coursework
As has always been our district's practice, the state testing program will not be the sole factor in determining entry into gifted-and-talented programs, honors classes or advanced placement courses. Work done in class, teacher recommendations, and local assessment results are also major factors in determining your student's school program. Student progress demonstrated through the PARCC assessments will make up 10% of the information that goes into the evaluations of teachers in the subject areas and grade levels tested.
In addition, "passing" the PARCC assessment will not be a high school graduation requirement for the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018. For students beginning college, however, PARCC testing can eliminate the need to take additional placement tests before they start freshman year studies. Public colleges in many states, including all public colleges in New Jersey, will accept the PARCC results for student placement purposes.
For parents, PARCC will provide individualized information on their children's progress toward meeting academic standards. The PARCC test results will not be used to determine promotion or be included in standard report card grades.
Could personal information about my child obtained through PARCC be sold?
No. Individual student results will remain confidential. Protections at the state and federal levels, and through all contracts and agreements, prevent student-identifiable data from being marketed or distributed. The selling of student data was never allowed in New Jersey under the NJASK or HSPA tests, and it is not permissible under the PARCC tests.
What happens if I refuse to let my child take the PARCC assessment?
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires schools with students in grades three through twelve to demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In order to make AYP, a school must ensure that assessments have been taken by at least ninety-five percent (95%) of enrolled students in each subgroup, i.e., special education, English language learners, income-based, race/ethnicity. Federal funding of key education programs is dependent upon districts meeting this requirement.
In compliance with this federal requirement, N.J.S.A. 18A:7C-1 requires the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner), with approval of the State Board of Education, to establish a program of standards for graduation from secondary school, and such a program shall include, “[t]he development of a Statewide assessment test in reading, writing, and computational skills to be administered to all secondary school pupils…” In addition, N.J.A.C. 6A:8-4.1(a) and (b) provides, “[t]he Commissioner…may implement assessment of student achievement in the State’s public schools in any grade(s) and by such assessments as he or she deems appropriate,” and the Commissioner “…shall define the scope and level of student performance on Statewide assessments that demonstrate thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills delineated by the CCCS at grade levels three through 12.” Subsection (c) further states that district boards of education “shall, according to a schedule prescribed by the Commissioner, administer the applicable Statewide assessments,” and subsection (d) confirms that “all students at grade levels three through 12, and at any other grade(s) designated by the Commissioner…shall take appropriate Statewide assessments as scheduled.”
As outlined above, state regulations do not allow parents to opt their children out of state testing. If your child is not participating in the test, you are asked to keep your student home that day, and to email the administration with the reason for your child’s absence. This will count as an unexcused absence. The student will not be asked to participate again during the make-up testing window, because an initial refusal to test is considered sufficient.
Should your child come to school the day of the scheduled assessment for his/her grade level and refuses to test, your child will be excused from the testing area and escorted to the office to call their parent/guardian to pick them up from school. The refusal to test is considered a “testing irregularity”, and state protocol indicates that this must be reported to the NJDOE within 48 hours. There will be no additional learning activities during the testing window provided for students who refuse to test, nor will these students be permitted to stay in the building during the testing window, as the state test is the learning activity planned for that time. We strongly encourage you to ensure that your child participates in PARCC. The information obtained through the assessment will determine how we can improve our school district's education program and help your child reach his or her full academic potential.
Other Resources +
|PARCC Social Media Blitz
|PARCC Computer-Based Sample Items
|PARCC 2014-2015 FACT SHEET
|Additional PARCC Resources For Parents
| Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
| 15 Things Every Student, Teacher, and Administrator Should Know about the PARCC Assessment