Spring has sprung in New Jersey, which means the time has come for us to assess how our students have been learning throughout the year. As our students prepare to demonstrate their knowledge, and we as parents think about how to support our students, it’s important to pause and consider the purpose of assessments.
You might ask yourself the following:
What is a high-quality assessment? Why are they necessary? What do we expect them to measure? Do they provide the information we want and need?
These are essential questions.
The New Jersey Learning Assessment is being administered this Spring to students in grades 3 through 10. This assessment is aligned to our state standards, which means that it tests what our educators, communities and the Department of Education believe should be taught in each grade level or course. The data collected through such assessments can be utilized by all the essential education stakeholders:
- Parents can get a clearer picture of where their children are succeeding and struggling, equipping them to ask questions and work with teachers and supplement learning at home as needed.
- School leaders get school, district-wide and individual student data from which they can make decisions about scope, sequencing, curriculum and professional development.
- Teachers get a sense of whether students mastered content, and an idea of what concepts students struggled with, allowing them to make curricular and pedagogical adjustments as they see fit.
- Colleges and employers know that students are being given an objective assessment that is designed to gauge whether a student is truly college and career ready.
- And, perhaps most importantly, students can leave school with an understanding as to whether they are on course to be successful in college and career.
Since these assessments are a snapshot in time of a student’s academic progress, you may be wondering how you can tell at home whether your student is learning and retaining grade-level content. You can learn more about standards and assessments, including what a child is expected to know at each grade level in English Language Arts, Math and Science. You can also visit and explore the resources offered by Learning Heroes.
Overall, New Jersey students should be engaged in continuous learning, with each new grade level building upon the content from the previous year. We appreciate our state standards for providing a framework for such learning, and assessments for giving us essential information on student mastery and progress.