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New Jersey’s Alternative Assessment Experience: 

New Jersey’s Alternative Assessment Experience A presentation to the Comparable HSA Task Force April 22, 2005

Standards-based exit exam, required for graduation: 

Standards-based exit exam, required for graduation Purpose: “The test shall measure those basic skills all students must possess to function politically, economically and socially in a demographic society.”

High School Proficiency Assessment Description: 

High School Proficiency Assessment Description Language arts literacy and mathematics Multiple-choice, short answers, writing prompts Untimed Graduation requirement for Class of 2003 and beyond No waivers or appeals process

High School Proficiency Assessment Administration: 

High School Proficiency Assessment Administration Allows extensive accommodations for special needs students and English language learners Administered in March of Grade 11 Retests in October and March of Grade 12 Remediation is responsibility of district, and is required

High School Proficiency Assessment Special Needs and ELL Students: 

High School Proficiency Assessment Special Needs and ELL Students Alternate Proficiency Assessment for students with severe disabilities Exemptions granted at discretion of school, based on IEP (students must take, but have no passing requirement) ELL students tested in native language

Special Review Assessment (SRA) - Description: 

Special Review Assessment (SRA) - Description Consists of two components: remedial coursework and performance assessment tasks (PATs) Language arts literacy and mathematics Based on same content, and same standards Untimed Available in several languages

Special Review Assessment Administration and Scoring: 

Special Review Assessment Administration and Scoring Student continues to take regular HSPA SRA administered and scored by teacher Administered when teacher deems student is ready (anytime) District responsible for auditing scoring of PATs

Special Review Assessment Eligibility: 

Special Review Assessment Eligibility

Data: 

Data In the last two years, 12,000 special education students were granted exemptions from testing requirements (received diplomas) Twenty-five to 30 percent of special education students given exemptions to passing the HSPA actually pass it when they take it

SRA Participation Trends 2002-2004: 

SRA Participation Trends 2002-2004

Data (continued): 

Data (continued) One in five students are taking the SRA in order to graduate In 2003, 25% of graduates received their diplomas without passing the HSPA SRA takers/passers Special education students granted exemptions

Problems Identified by NJ Department of Education: 

Problems Identified by NJ Department of Education Administrations were so widespread that they could no longer ensure: Systematic use of the SRA process and adherence to PAT selection and scoring criteria Security of test materials (storage) Fair conditions for test administration and scoring Reliability of scoring by teachers Districts could certify standards were met

Additional Concerns: 

Additional Concerns High levels of participation in SRA by general education students signals instructional issue Reduction of SRA participation by special needs students, and an increase in exemptions signals low standards for these students Three opportunities to pass the HSPA are not sufficient NJ is the only state allowing their alternative assessment to be administered and scored on a local level

Stakeholder Perceptions: 

Stakeholder Perceptions Commissioner: Some students may need more than 4 years in high school Students and teachers: SRA is the “easy way out” Minority advocates: SRA has resulted in a second-class diploma Business and higher education: Meaning of NJ diploma is unclear

New Jersey’s Recommendations: 

New Jersey’s Recommendations Discontinue the SRA process Move the initial administration of the HSPA from March to October of Grade 11 Continue the use of exemptions from passing tests as a graduation requirement for certain special education students Develop sheltered-English or translated versions of the HSPA for ELL students Use the sheltered-English version for some special education students

Proposed Instructional Adjustments: 

Proposed Instructional Adjustments Earlier risk identification and intervention Availability of a menu of remedial programs Increase number of HSPA opportunities Collaborate with two-year colleges to develop programs Certificates of Attainment will be available to students who complete all other graduation requirements

Proposed Instructional Adjustments: 

Proposed Instructional Adjustments Continue use of the GED path Institute a limited appeal process for students who have: Attendance rate of 95% in last two years of school Attended and fully participated in summer programs Letters from parent, guidance counselor, and principal attesting to effort made and barriers encountered in attaining proficiency in curriculum standards

New Jersey’s Advice to Maryland: 

New Jersey’s Advice to Maryland Avoid any assessment that is administered and scored locally If we choose to implement a comparable assessment, keep it for strictly documented cases only Concentrate efforts on instructional and remedial programs

Summary Quotes from New Jersey: 

Summary Quotes from New Jersey “SRA is like boxing with jello – it keeps going in different directions.” NJ Director, Office of Assessment “SRA is a political solution to an educational problem.” NJ Commissioner

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