Last week the New Jersey Department of Education announced the discontinuation of the Start Strong testing requirement, effective fall 2023. Initially piloted in the fall of 2020, the test was mandated in the fall of 2021 as an alternative to the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment, which the Department had suspended due to the pandemic.
Despite disapproval from parents and educators, the test’s administration was set to continue for a fourth consecutive school year. However, following widespread criticism from state legislators, the decision was reversed, resulting in what many consider a victory for students across the state. Commending its potential to benefit students. Monmouth County Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner praised the decision to discontinue the test.
“We are thankful that the Department of Education listened to the collective concerns from parents, educators, and ourselves and made the appropriate decision to end this excessive testing requirement,” said Assemblywoman Piperno. “Doing so will allow students to get back on track with their learning and growth disrupted by the pandemic, which will undoubtedly and positively impact the quality of education our students receive.”
In a memo, the Department of Education also announced that they would resume using the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments instead of Start Strong. As a result, districts can access valuable student performance data from a proven examination, ensuring our educators and schools are held accountable for providing high-quality, core academic standards.
Piperno and Eulner argued previously that Start Strong was costly and ineffective, citing concerns about its lack of relevance and utility. They also highlighted the test’s redundancy, given that students are already required to pass an excessive series of tests to graduate and the estimated multi-million-dollar cost of its administration.
Added Assemblywoman Eulner, “The decision to end the Start Strong testing requirement is a tremendous win for our students and teachers. Not only can the resources that would have gone into administering the test be reallocated to more productive and meaningful opportunities, but our educators can now focus on what they do best: teaching!”
This is a press release.