Letters to the Editor: Standardized Testing
To the Editor:
As we enter the last few weeks of summer many parents, children and school district employees are looking with excitement toward September 6 when classes begin here in Hammonton. Those first few days and weeks of school are a critical time. Students settle into a new routine; teachers get to know their new students. Parents dig out their ParentPortal login information, while returning to important tasks like packing lunches, attending sporting events and checking homework.
Again this year, the State Department of Education is disrupting these critical first few weeks of school with another mandated testing instrument. “Start Strong” testing is mandated for 100 percent of New Jersey schools, and must be delivered by September 30. Last year following the disruptions associated with COVID-19, the “Start Strong” test was mandated to provide a statewide assessment of student progress. Even though students in New Jersey are already required to take the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) test each spring which provides data related to student progress.
So why do we need yet another standardized test? Why do we need to deliver these tests within the first few days of school? Good luck finding an acceptable answer from the State Department of Education.
I think we need to trust our teachers and trust our administrators. They know our students, and their needs. Armed with data, experience and a genuine care for the children of our community, these professionals are well suited to evaluating student progress. Not out-of-touch Trenton bureaucrats who are just looking for more statistics.
Hammonton School Board Member and Candidate