LIVINGSTON, NJ — Natalie Topylko, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for STEM/testing, data assessment and accountability for Livingston Public Schools (LPS), recently presented the results from the most recent New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA) Science examination, which has replaced the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK). 

According to Topylko, the NJASK tested students in grades four and eight as well as at the completion of the district’s basic biology course. She explained that the new test, the NJSLA, is administered to fifth, eighth and 11th grade students. 

While presenting the results to the Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) viz Zoom last week, Topylko said the results were “quite surprising and unusual”—as the passing percentages were lower than expected not only for LPS, but for comparable districts throughout the state as well. 

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“We are taken aback, and the results spur for further reflection,” said Topylko, noting that although the data has not been internalized and discussed as it typically would be due to the current health crisis, the results will be reviewed when the opportunity presents itself. 

LPS Superintendent Dr. Matthew Block agreed that Livingston is one of the districts that is expected to do “much better” and said the district would do a “deeper dive” to assess the results. He added that refinements must happen on “both ends,” stating that the state and the developer of the test must review the exams as well.

The specific results will be mailed to LPS parents once schools reopen.

In other news, the district also addressed several regular agenda items, including accepting the retirements of Chinese teacher Lucy Lee; school counselor Wendy Walter; business education teacher Colleen Cornell; instructional aide Lucia Emma-Uibelhoer; and reading interventionist Janice Corrado.

The LBOE thanked all retiring faculty members for their service and wished them well, noting that the five retirees represented a cumulative 122 years of service to the Livingston district. 

The board also accepted the resignation of Livingston High School Assistant Principal Marjorie Duffy.

To read more about last week’s LBOE meeting, where the district updated that public on the pending budget presentation, CLICK HERE.