Standardized Testing

  • New Jersey Student Learning Assessment

    Each spring, the New Jersey Department of Education requires all students in grades three through eleven to take an annual computer-based assessment in math and language arts. Beginning Spring 2019, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), was replaced by the new state assessment called the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA) for Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA).

    The New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) are aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), which focus on critical thinking skills and students' ability to read, write, speak, listen and solve "real-world" problems independently. The standards were developed with the goal of ensuring all students are college and career ready and were internationally benchmarked to ensure students are academically competitive with their peers around the world.

    The New Jersey Student Learning Assessments are intended to mark students’ progress towards the stated goal of college and career readiness.  The assessments are also meant to provide feedback to the district regarding the efficacy of our current curriculum and instruction.

    During the weeks of May 11-May 22, 2020, the Chester School District will administer the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments to students in grades three through eight.

    When will my child take the NJSLA and other assessments?

    Grade Level 


    State Required


    Grades 3-8

    NJSLA  ELA/Math


    May 11-22

     (Includes Makeups)

    Grade 5 and Grade 8

    NJSLA Science 


    May 27 and 28

    Grades 3-8



    April 1-May 29

    Grades K-8



    February 18-April 10


    What value does the district see in the NJSLA?

    Over time, the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) have the potential to provide us with a record of progress for each student in meeting the state standards.  We believe multi-year results may also be valuable for parents to see their children's academic progress in reading, writing, and mathematics over time.

    Ideally, the assessments will aid us in evaluating not just our pupils but our programs as well. Valid assessment results over multiple years could give us a picture of the strengths of our curriculum and also insight into those areas in need of enhancement.  Unlike prior standardized tests, such as the NJ ASK and HSPA, the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) are designed to provide us with more specific details about the content that students should demonstrate in their responses to particular questions.  With three years of data, in areas where we had high participation, we are beginning to see how our students performed in a wide variety of areas relative to other students across the state and nation. This type of data, with sufficient participation, allows districts to drill down more deeply into the quality of their curriculum and instructional practices.

    Our students have generally responded well to the computer-based format of the PARCC assessments, which allows the tests to be more interactive and visual than the previous paper-and-pencil test.  The on-line format also has the capability of assessing students’ skills in important areas such as comprehending information from visual media such as video news clips.  

    What we do know, and what we will continue to focus on throughout the school year, is that our children are known best through their daily contributions in the classroom, through their personalities and performances, and through their acts of kindness and compassion. We continue to be, nevertheless, hopeful that the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) longitudinal data will add to our array of multiple measures through which we strive to know every child - their strengths and needs, their unique talents and passions.

    How does Chester use the NJSLA results?

    According to the NJDOE, the stated purpose of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) is to measure students’ progress, both statewide and within local school districts, in English and Math from third grade through high school toward the identified goal of college and career readiness. In PPS, we are able to use these results to assess curriculum, inform instruction, and provide student support.  The assessments show specific areas of our curriculum where our students are performing particularly well and may also reveal those areas where we can bolster student understanding. In addition, we can use the results to assess the progress of individual students over time. The NJSLA is one measure among multiple measures that is used to identify students who need support through the district’s CAAP and Title I programs. 

    Where can I find more information about my child's score reports from the 2019 NJSLA assessment?

    • Individual Student Records were mailed to families.
    • Test scores will be accessible via an online portal in the Fall of 2019.
    • For more information about the reports, please visit Understand the Score

    Is NJSLA a graduation requirement?

    On December 31, 2018, the Superior Court of NJ issued a decision on the appeal from the 2016 adoption of amended regulations at N.J.A.C 6A:8, Standards and Assessment, by the New Jersey State Board of Education. The decision of the Superior Court found that N.J.A.C 6A:8-5.1(a)(6), 5.1(f) and 5.1 (g) are contrary to the intent of the statute and the current regulations as enacted were stricken. On February 22, 2019 the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) received a consent order from the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, memorializing an agreement between the NJDOE and the Education Law Center addressing the high school graduation assessment requirements for the Classes of 2019 and 2020. This consent order provides clarity on the establishment of a clear path to graduation for students in the Classes of 2019 and 2020. The graduation assessment requirements for the Classes of 2019 and 2020 are summarized below.

    Classes of 2019 and 2020

    Students graduating as members of the Classes of 2019 and 2020 can meet graduation assessment requirements through any of these three pathways:

    (1) Achieve passing scores on high school level NJSLA/PARCC assessments;
    (2) Achieve scores defined in the table below on alternative assessments such as the SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER; or
    (3) Submit, through the district, a student portfolio appeal to the NJDOE.

    Each school year the NJDOE determines the proficiency level and/or cut scores needed on the assessments to meet the graduation assessment requirements. The updated Class of 2019 and 2020 proficiency levels/cut scores can be found on the Graduation Assessment Requirements webpage.

    Note: Special Education students, whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) specify an alternative way to demonstrate proficiencies, will continue to follow the graduation assessment requirements set forth in their IEPs.

    Class of 2020 through 2022

    The path to graduation that was established for the Classes of 2019 and 2020 through the initial Consent Order dated February 15, 2019 has been extended to apply to the Classes of 2021 and 2022. Please note that these are the same requirements that were in place for the Classes of 2017 and 2018.

    The Class of 2023 and Beyond 

    We are awaiting further guidance from the NJDOE.