High Stakes Testing

Dear JCPS shared three recommendations with JCPS district leaders that could be employed immediately. These suggestions came about as a result of legislation in other states.

  • Tests conducted on grades K-2, ECE and ESL populations are the ones we hear most frequently to be age-inappropriate, unfair and cruel. In addition, by deflating self-esteem and promoting a sense of hopelessness, these tests also undermine the potential for future success of testing on these populations down the road. We recommend eliminating district-level assessments on K-2, ECE and ESL students. New Jersey bill A3079/S2766 prohibits standardized testing of students in grades K-2.  The Governor signed it on Nov. 9, 2015.
  • Research shows that income is linked to standardized test results, yet “gap” students who test poorly are subjected to significantly more standardized tests. We recommend that the district place a limit on the percentage of time students in priority schools can spend on standardized tests (i.e., no more than 5%).
  • Parents have a right and responsibility to ensure the tests their students take are beneficial, Dear JCPS recommends schools proactively send home notifications of upcoming assessments. These notifications should include the amount of time spent preparing for the assessments, costs, and what impact the tests will have toward guiding instruction or qualifying for entrance into future school placement. New Jersey bill A4091/S2923 requires school districts to inform parents about the standardized tests their students will take, how much they cost, how much instruction time will be lost to the tests, etc.  A sample high-stakes test refusal letter can be found here.

To learn more about the history and research, read “Narrowing the Gap,” an open letter to JCPS School Board members and Administrators from Chris Harmer.

Are JCPS schools reducing or widening the learning gaps among our children?

To locate and contact your board member, click here: How to Advocate.