New Jersey’s State Board of Education this week halved the governor’s plan to reduce the number of standardized tests required in high school.
Over the summer, Commissioner of Education Lamont O. Repollet introduced amendments, backed by Gov. Phil Murphy, that would reduce the number of required standardized tests to two — 10th grade English and one math — from the six currently required.
On Wednesday, the state board approved amendments to Repollet’s proposal that include requiring four high school standardized tests: English language arts and math testing in grades 9 and 10.
The reduction in testing was part of a campaign promise made by Murphy to revamp state testing and replace the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams commonly known as PARCC.
Last month, the governor reiterated his commitment to phase out PARCC after the state board delayed a vote to publish the proposed changes and begin the 60-day comment period.
According to Wednesday’s agenda, nearly 3,000 comments on the changes have been submitted to the state board regarding the testing changes.
In a blog post from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) Thursday, the state’s largest teaching union said it would continue to analyze the new amendments.
“The overall proposal is an important step in the right direction” said NJEA President Marie Blistan.
“We look forward to working with the Department of Education, with the State Board, and with all other stakeholders, as we prioritize the needs of students for a successful transition from high school to college, a career and participation in civic life,” Blistan said.
New Jersey Department of Education spokesman Michael Yaple said the state board’s changes move the effort to improve standardized testing forward.
“Throughout the discussions, the focus of every conversation has been on what is best for the students of New Jersey,” Yaple said.
He said the agreement reached this week “achieves the dual goals of providing students with the greatest amount of flexibility, while maintaining rigor and high standards.”
Yaple said the next step is that the proposed rules will be advertised in the New Jersey Register and a public comment period will be held.