TRENTON — The Department of Education today announced the formation of the College and Career Readiness Task Force, a group of K-12 and higher education practitioners and business community representatives that will have two main responsibilities: clearly articulating the knowledge and skills that students should master to be “college and career ready,” and ensuring that New Jersey has the appropriate graduation requirements and high school assessments in place to evaluate the mastery of these readiness standards. The task force will submit its recommendations to the Department of Education by Dec. 31.
“Our number one priority is to ensure that students across the state of New Jersey are not only graduating from high school, but that when they do, they are truly ready for college and a career. When you have over 90 percent of students who matriculate to Bergen and Essex County Community Colleges requiring remediation before they can begin college-level work, we clearly are not hitting that mark,” said Acting Commissioner Christopher D. Cerf. “In order to ensure that we are aligned with our colleagues in higher education, we are bringing together practitioners from both fields to clearly define the knowledge and skills that students need to be ready for college and a career.”
Last year, New Jersey adopted the Common Core State Standards, as a first step to ensuring that all students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career. The Common Core State Standards are robust and relevant standards for K-12 math and English language arts developed by a consortium of states led by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. To date, 44 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the standards, and the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted the standards for New Jersey in June 2010.
New Jersey has also joined 23 other states and the District of Columbia in developing new K-12 math and ELA assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, that will truly measure college and career readiness in the state of New Jersey. As part of a consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), New Jersey is on track to implement these new web-based assessments in the 2014-15 school year. The PARCC assessments will not only measure student progress, but will provide valuable data to teachers to know how their students are performing, and where they need to customize instruction for individual students.
“Standards and assessments go hand in hand, and we need to ensure that the tools we use to determine whether students graduate from high school also measure whether students are ready for college and a career. This task force is the next step as we think about our next generation high school assessments and graduation requirements,” said Cerf.
The Department of Education is currently evaluating the state’s high school assessments. The task force will discuss the degree to which the HSPA and AHSA exams are appropriately gauging college and career readiness, and make recommendation on how New Jersey should measure college and career readiness in the future.
The task force will meet twice a month, and will solicit input from a variety of stakeholders, including testing experts, academics, and the general public.
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