TRENTON, NJ – The Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, Lamont Repollet announced today in a letter to school superintendents and administrators that standardized testing scheduled for students this spring have been canceled.
The spring student assessments that are canceled include New Jersey Student Learning, ACCESS for English Language Learners, and the Dynamic Learning Maps.
Repollet said New Jersey applied for and was granted a waiver by the U. S. Department of Education. The waiver was offered to states canceling standardized testing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The standardized test are used in a myriad of ways. In addition to benchmarking student achievement, they are part of graduation requirement and used for teacher evaluations.
The notice said the state will be making the test available to freshmen, sophomores and juniors, as well as middle school students taking high school level classes, in the summer or fall if they want to use the NJSLA high school tests to meet their graduation requirements.
Juniors and sophomores have a menu of options for meeting the graduation requirements.
Last week the College Board announced they would be canceling the March and May SAT testing though June remains as scheduled.
The organization also administers the Advanced Placement or AP programs that are offered in most high schools in the country. They are currently offering online resources for teachers to give remote instructions. The College Board said they are still working on a plan for administering AP tests, scheduled for May. "We're investing in the development of a new at-home testing option," the website said, with an update expected by April 3.
Following is the text of Repollet's letter:
"Given the continued threat of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our school communities and the resulting school closures, Governor Phil Murphy today announced that the State of New Jersey is cancelling all statewide student assessments for the spring 2020 testing window. This includes the springtime administration of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA), ACCESS for ELLs, and the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessment.
"The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has notified states that it will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing relief from federally mandated testing, accountability, and reporting requirements for this school year. With students unable to attend school due to the COVID-19-related closures, it is not feasible to move forward with statewide testing. As such, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has applied for the waiver and the USDE has granted approval of the waiver. Therefore, New Jersey will not be required to administer a statewide assessment for federal accountability purposes.
We acknowledge that cancelling statewide assessments will impact various aspects of education, including educator evaluations and certification, and school and district accountability. We recognize educators, students, and families will have questions. We are working to mitigate any unintended consequences, and we will work through multiple channels to keep stakeholders fully informed of updated guidance and other changes.
"Graduation Options Cancellation of statewide assessments will not prevent students from meeting their graduation assessment requirements.
"The NJDOE continues to process portfolio appeals for the small percentage of current seniors who have not yet met their graduation assessment requirement.
"The NJDOE will make the NJSLA available in the summer or fall for current high school freshman, sophomores, and juniors (and middle school students taking high-school level courses) who may want to use the NJSLA high school assessments to meet their graduation assessment requirements.
"Current juniors and sophomores also have access to the menu of alternate assessments (the SAT, etc.) and the portfolio appeal process as pathways to complete their graduation assessment requirement. These students are not required to take the NJSLA to access the menu of alternate assessments or the portfolio appeal process.
"Refer to the NJDOE’s COVID-19 webpage for more information on these and other issues as it becomes available.