The following information was sent to all MSD families in December, 2021.
NJ Start Strong Assessment and Individual Student Reports.
In October, 2021, NJ public school students took the Start Strong standardized assessments in the following areas and grades: English Language Arts: grades 4-10; Mathematics: grades 4-8; Science: grades 6, 9, 12; and Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.
The Start Strong assessments test students on a subset of priority learning standards from the prior school year. For instance, a fifth grade Start Strong mathematics test focused on fourth grade New Jersey Student Learning Standards. These tests were created to help educators and families better understand what educational supports students may need, particularly in light of lost instructional time during the previous two academic years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In December, 2021, parents were sent Individual Student Reports (ISR) for each content area in which their child tested. To view the ISRs online in the NJ Parent Portal linked here, you must create an account. (If you do not already have one, please use the claim code provided on the ISR.)
The ISRs are meant to give parents a sense of their child’s understanding in the tested content areas at the time the test was given. On the first page of each ISR, your child was assigned a “support level” indicating how much support they may need this school year on a scale of 1-3. The categories are reported as:
Support Level One: Strong support may be needed
Support Level Two: Some support may be needed
Support Level Three: Less support may be needed
Please note: the support levels are based only on the Start Strong assessment and do not take into account the many other measures our district utilizes to understand students’ level of progress and support needed.
The second page of each ISR includes a description of the major concepts that were assessed and the number of points your child earned for each one. You can use this ISR as a starting point for discussions with your child and teacher(s). For example, you may want to ask, “What additional supports are available to help my child during the school day and beyond regular school hours?” or “How will I know if my child is improving?”
The fall Start Strong tests were given instead of spring NJSLA tests only for this year (2021) as part of the approved flexibilities offered by the U.S Department of Education. The spring NJSLA schedule will resume for the 2021-22 school year.
In the Morris School District, we have many ways of assessing student learning and progress, and the Start Strong assessment is just one of them. For instance, in addition to Start Strong, we utilize the prerequisite report from the iReady Diagnostic, which provides a more detailed report of each student’s areas of growth. Furthermore, because the Start Strong assessment was given in October, it may not reflect your child’s current progress and performance; teacher conferences and Report Cards are more up to date in that respect.
Throughout a student’s time in school, our teachers and schools have multiple strategies and resources in place to offer targeted support to those who need it, including:
Small group instruction within the classroom
Review and reinforcement of prerequisite skills
Differentiated support tailored to each student’s individual needs