In addition to routine testing by teachers to help them assess student academic progress, a number of standardized tests are administered throughout the school year. Some are favored by the district because they help us identify areas where we need to target and strengthen instruction; most are the result of state and federal education mandates, emanating from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
State testing is developed and implemented by the Department of Education, Office of Evaluation and Assessment (OEA). Its assessment program is designed to measure the extent to which all students at the elementary-, middle- and secondary-school levels have attained New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards. The OEA works collaboratively within the department and with districts and schools to collect and report information about student academic achievement in order to inform instruction, increase student learning, and help parents and the public to assess the current status of their schools.
The district also administers tests from the Educational Records Bureau. Based in New York City with operations offices at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, the ERB is committed to developing improved methods of testing student achievement, reporting and interpreting individual and group test results to member schools and supporting strong linkages among students, the curriculum, and assessment practices, through staff workshops and consultations with educators and measurement specialists.
Students in Hopewell Valley will take the following standardized tests in this school year:
Cognitive Assessment Test (CogAT)
It is the most widely known and used standardized cognitive assessment for students in the United States. The CogAt is used to measure overall cognitive and reasoning abilities from a developmental perspective to determine if students are performing to their potential in verbal, quantitative and nonverbal ways. The CogAThelps to guide classroom and instructional planning efforts so that they are tailored to the instructional needs of students based on their ability level.
New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) State-mandated
Introduced in 2003 to assess language arts literacy and math competency of 3rd and 4th graders, this test has steadily expanded to older students and, beginning this year, includes all middle school learners. For 8th graders, it replaces the Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA).
The language arts portion consists of reading passages, multiple-choice items, open-ended items and writing tasks and is given over two days. The math section consists of multiple-choice and open-ended items that may be answered with the use of a calculator and multiple-choice items that must be answered without use of a calculator. The test is given over two days for all students except 3rd graders, who complete it in one day. Students in 4th grade spend an additional day on science. NJ ASK is not a promotion test, but is used to determine how well students have met specific state goals for their grade level, known as the Core Curriculum Content Standards. Test-takers are graded as Proficient, Advanced Proficient or Partially Proficient. Under NCLB, federal education officials are using the results of these tests to determine whether a school has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress, the benchmark created to hold local educators responsible for demonstrating student progress under threat of losing federal funding.
End of Course Algebra Test State-mandated
This test is given to all students enrolled in an Algebra I course at any time during the school year.
High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) State-mandated
Students must pass this test in order to graduate high school. It is administered over three days in March. Re-tests, for those who fail, are administered in October of senior year.
End of Course Biology Test State-mandated
This test is given to all high school students enrolled in a biology class at any time during this year. It replaced the science portion of the HSPA, now limited to math and language arts literacy. The only exemptions are returning adult students and AP biology students who have already taken a biology pre-requisite.