Discussion On Measuring Student Achievement At Last Week's Board Of Education Meeting

Pictured left to right, Back Row: Denis Smalley, Paul Beisser, Doug Reinstein, Judith Rattner, Pat Qualshie, Gerry Crisonino, Donna Felezzola, John Sincaglia. Front Row: Mary Ann Walsh, Jimmy Longo, Helen Kirsch, Victoria Piatnochka, Jeanne Parker Credits: Denise Piatnochka

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Student achievement and the indicators to be used in measuring district success was discussed at last week's Board of Education meeting. 

At a recent Administrator's Council meeting, the district administrators reviewed the Professional Development Reports and identified commonality of student achievement by school level.  Superintendent Judith Rattner advised the board that the individual schools value academic achievement focused on the NJ Common Core Standards as well as the ability for students to apply knowledge and use higher level thinking skills to solve problems collaboratively.  

"In addition to that, we are not just focused on academic achievement.  We feel very strongly that we are helping each child develop socially and emotionally," said Rattner. "When the alumni come back, they reflect responsible citizens who are life-long learners." 

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Rattner referenced the book 'Rein of Error' by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, to identify indicators outside of data driven information to measure student achievement. Ravitch's book captured what our district holds close to our hearts said Rattner.

"We want to make sure that children have an exceptional educational experience; they have teachers that are experienced and continuing to learn new techniques; classes are small; there are a variety of opportunities for students both on the athletic field as well extra curricular field; and school has a warm and welcoming climate and it's a place where children feel safe," said Rattner.  

How can the district measure how students are achieving? 

"Student achievement is a measure of a student's proficiency as determined by a number of summative assessments.  These include but are not limited to GPA, course grades, subject-matter/benchmark assessments and 'standardized' measures that vary across subjects and grade levels.  This can also include portfolio assessments or other performance measures with students for the fine, practical and performing arts," as defined on the district website

Rattner then reviewed the many components to indicators that are used to look at student achievement that are listed on the district website.
The board asked Rattner to focus on specific data the administrative team can use to determine student achievement that could then be turned into a ‘scorecard’ where it could be measured. A balance of quantitative and qualitative measures are needed. Rattner and the administrative team will develop  a student achievement ‘scorecard’ for one school – Gov. Livingston, and present the first draft at the Feb. 6 Board of Education meeting.


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