September 19, 2013 at 9:29 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Burnet Hill’s fifth grade teacher Dorian Gemellaro is putting her ‘science guru’ skills to practice as she advances the scholarly research on standardized testing.
With No Child Left Behind requiring improvements in student achievements, Gemellaro decided to look at the relationship between fifth-grade test scores and the NJ School Report Card. She compared the variables with the NJ ASK (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge), which is the standards-based assessment by which achievement is quantified in the state. The results of her study will be published in the Fall issue of the "American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and Practice."
“It’s being used as a tool so it’s important to know what affects performance,” Gemellaro said, particularly as New Jersey increases its reliance on its results for teacher reviews, school ratings, and how students are grouped by ability in subjects like math, known as tracking or leveling.
Gemellaro, who earned her PhD last spring from Seton Hall University, found that attendance, class size—it all matters. She said that scores are most influenced by socioeconomic status, as measured by eligibility for free or reduced lunch. She also advanced the vast body of research by showing that instructional time had a statistically significant influence on NJ ASK 5 scores in both math and language arts.