New Jersey Department of Education

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Contact: Janet Thompson
Rich Vespucci
For Release: February 1, 2001

Education Commissioner Releases School District Test Results

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Saying the overwhelming majority of New Jersey students are making continuing progress in meeting the state’s new rigorous academic standards, Education Commissioner David Hespe today released district-by-district results for fourth, eighth, and eleventh grade assessments that were conducted last spring.

The results cover the following tests:

  • Elementary School Proficiency Assessment: Assesses language arts literacy, math and science. It was administered last May.
  • Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment: Assesses language arts literacy, mathematics, and for the first time at this level, science. It was administered in March 2000.
  • High School Proficiency Test. Assesses reading, writing and mathematics. The test was administered in October of 1999 and April 2000.

In addition, the Commissioner released actual questions, answers and the scoring methods for the fourth and eighth grade tests.

Hespe said: "By releasing the district-by-district results, parents and educators can gain a comprehensive understanding of how their children are meeting the challenges of the new state curriculum standards. With this valuable information, parents, administrators and teachers can work together to help raise academic performance and expectations for students."

Hespe said: "While the testing program for fourth and eighth grade students is still in its infancy stage, the early results are extremely encouraging. In all subject areas, and at every grade level, the vast majority of students are rising to the challenge and meeting or exceeding our high standards."

The results reflect the second year of the new statewide assessment program, which is designed to find out how fourth and eighth grade students are adjusting to the more demanding core curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 1996. The High School Proficiency Test (HSPT), which has been in use for over a decade, will be replaced by the new High School Proficiency Assessment in the spring of 2002.

Some other highlights to the statewide assessment results include:

  • An analysis of fourth and eighth grade assessment results by gender support the conclusion that female students tend to perform better in language arts literacy, while male students perform better in mathematics.
  • An analysis of fourth and eighth grade assessment results by race and ethnicity show a gap in achievement between minority and non-minority students. The achievement gap is similar to the results found in the first year of the test results and in national studies. The gap in achievement was consistent among general education students, special education students and students with limited English proficiency.

  • Almost 91 percent of the class of 2000 passed all three sections of the High School Proficiency Test.

  • Of the general education students who took the Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment last March, 80 percent demonstrated a proficiency in science, 83.7 percent in language arts literacy and 67.3 percent in math.
  • Of the fourth grade students who took the Elementary School Proficiency Assessment last May, 71.3 percent achieved proficiency in math, 89.6 percent in science and 61 percent in language arts literacy.