TRENTON, July 16, 2014—Gov. Chris Christie this week announced creation of a commission to review the effectiveness of all student assessments given in schools, including the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) online assessments that are due to begin statewide next year.

In addition, while the state will still include student performance on the PARCC assessments in some teacher evaluations next year, the Christie Administration in a separate announcement, said that the use of the data will be introduced more gradually than previously planned.

“The New Jersey School Boards Association strongly supports the creation of a commission that will take a deliberative approach to studying student assessments,” said NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod.

“At the same time, we believe districts have invested time, money and effort in preparing for the implementation of the PARCC assessments. We are pleased that the PARCC assessments will continue to be implemented. In addition, NJSBA has long supported the use of student performance data in teacher evaluations, and the governor’s action will ensure that we continue moving in that direction.”

For 2014-2015, statewide student assessment results will count as 10 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, for teachers in those grades that are eligible, according to the announcement by the state Department of Education. In 2015-2016, up to 20 percent will be based on student assessments.

PARCC results will be used to evaluate teachers of fourth through eighth grade language arts and math. The original plan called for assessment results to represent 30 percent of teacher evaluations.

Commission Created On July 14 Christie issued an executive order creating a nine-member panel, appointed by the governor, that will review “the volume, frequency and impact of student testing occurring throughout New Jersey school districts.” The new Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey will also consider the Core Curriculum Content Standards, including the Common Core State Standards, according to the executive order.

The commission will report its initial recommendations to the governor on Dec. 31, 2014, with its final report due to Christie and the Legislature on July 31, 2015.

The executive order comes after several bills were proposed in the Legislature that would create a task force to study the testing, and which also sought to delay the use of PARCC results in evaluating teachers.

The state Department of Education also announced that for the 2013-2014 school year, any teacher who receives an evaluation rating of “ineffective” or “partially effective,” due to the outcome of the scoring of district-determined student performance measures (i.e. those not measured by the PARCC test) will be eligible to ask for a review of their rating. The NJDOE plans to release additional details regarding this review process later this summer.

The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of 581 local boards of education and includes 81 charter school associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.