TRENTON, May 22, 2015—The New Jersey School Boards Association welcomes Wednesday’s decision by the multi-state PARCC consortium to reduce the number of test periods and the total administration time for next year’s exam, the organization’s executive director said today.

PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) serves as New Jersey’s testing program to measure student progress toward standards in mathematics and language arts. The computer-based test was administered for the first time in March and May of 2015.

“We appreciate the PARCC consortium’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the issue of test administration time,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “New Jersey has made refinements to previous statewide testing programs after their initial administration. We anticipated similar action following this year’s first administration of PARCC, and we welcome the changes.”

He continued, “It is critical that we have a testing program that measures student progress, with the least disruption possible of instructional time and the school schedule.”

The PARCC modifications announced Wednesday include reducing overall test administration time by approximately 90 minutes, from 11 hours in high school and 10 hours in the elementary schools, and consolidating the two test administration periods (in March and May) into a single period in the spring.

This year, students in grades 3 through 8 and high school took the PARCC assessment in two segments, in March and in May. The March assessment required students to construct written answers to questions and to explain their responses. In May, the students took “end-of-year assessments,” largely multiple-choice questions.

The state’s assessment program continues to be examined. In November, Governor Christie appointed a Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey, which is expected to issue its findings this summer. The NJSBA executive director serves on the commission.

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.