JERSEY CITY, NJ - Jersey City school officials are stepping up their efforts to prepare local public school students for standardized testing currently scheduled to take place before the end of the current academic year. 

With remote learning already set to continue through this marking period, and probably until classes break for the summer, District officials, Superintendent Franklin Walker said, are taking steps to make sure student evaluations don’t suffer, and are currently using a number of tools available to them to improve learning. 

Students were administered pre-assessments including the Reading Street Baseline in Grades K-5 and the Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) in Grades K-12, Walker told TAPinto Jersey City. Teachers also use daily demonstrations of learning and administer weekly assessments.

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“In order to address student learning loss, teachers use the data from these assessments to plan for personalized small group instruction,” Walker said. “Small group instruction can include Guided Reading lessons, targeted skill or strategy lessons, enrichment lessons, or project-based inquiry activities.”

Time is allocated for teachers to provide small group instruction to at least one group of students per day. 

“On Wednesdays, teachers use additional time in the afternoon to instruct small groups of students,” Walker continued. “The Curriculum and Instruction Department continues to provide district-wide professional development on the use of data to plan instruction and the implementation of small group instruction. All resources shared during professional development sessions are posted on the district Professional Development Resource site.”

Mathematics is always challenging, even in ordinary years.

Walker said students in grades K-8 are given the Go Math Beginning of Year, Mid-Year, and End of Year assessments to measure proficiency on all of the standards students are expected to master by the completion of their respective grade level.

“These district assessments are used to monitor progress, identify missed learning standards, and measure student growth. Additionally, chapter and lesson assessments are multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding and allow teachers to gain valuable feedback,” he said. “To address learning loss, teachers continue to use the data gathered to plan a connected approach to instruction that integrates effective strategies for differentiated learning. Teachers provide interventions and guided support through small group instruction ensuring that all students thrive, and achievement is accelerated."

Students aren’t the only ones challenged by the new learning environment and so the district has instituted professional development in the areas of math digital resources, virtual small group instruction, and teaching remotely has been provided to teachers district wide. 

“Tailored professional development sessions have also been developed to address specific concerns from teachers on a building level,” Walker said. “Differentiated and personalized professional learning is continuously provided to address skill and experience gaps among teachers.”

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