PARCC PREP

A hearing on proposed changes to the state assessment known as PARCC will be extended to another meeting after lengthy discussion by the state Board of Education, a spokesman for the department said Thursday.

Wednesday’s board agenda included a vote to publish proposed changes to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which would begin the 60-day public comment process.

The changes, proposed by Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Gov. Phil Murphy over the summer, include decreasing the number of standardized tests required in high school from six to two — English language arts and math — among other details.

Also, notably, the changes would remove the term PARCC from the rules and replace it with high school assessment, signaling the department’s intention of finally replacing the much-maligned test.

Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education, said the discussion on the changes by the board continued until 1 p.m. Wednesday when it was stopped for a scheduled public comment session.

Yaple said many board members continue to have questions regarding the changes, which is why the vote was delayed.

“Both the commissioner and the board president said this is too important an issue to advance without making sure the board has all of its questions and concerns addressed. As a result, discussion and a vote would be extended to a following meeting,” Yaple said.

Meanwhile, the Senate and Assembly Education Committees announced Thursday they will convene a meeting Monday morning to hear from Repollet on the PARCC changes.

According to a news release from the legislative committees, Repollet will discuss the Department of Education’s current policy and its plans moving forward regarding statewide assessments, as well as the use of students’ scores on assessments for the purpose of educator evaluations.

After Wednesday’s state board meeting, Senate Education Committee Chairwoman M. Teresa Ruiz welcomed the commissioner’s decision to extend discussions.

“Eliminating these assessments, absent a cohesive plan to replace them, could have a negative and counterproductive impact on the quality of education,” Ruiz said. “We now have a great opportunity to engage all of the stakeholders to work together in a deliberative manner and develop a thoughtful plan that delivers real and lasting solutions. Any direction we take with education in New Jersey must be equitable, substantiated by facts and data, and must protect the most vulnerable students.”

The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet again Oct. 3.

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.