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Public Education Discussion Panel Series

Panel Discussion 2016  -  The Impact of Mandated Standardized Testing in New Jersey's Public Schools



Bob Bowdon, Executive Director, ChoiceMedia TV




Dr. Bari Anhalt Erlichson, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Data Literacy Initiative, New Jersey Department of Education

Janellen Duffy, Executive Director, JerseyCAN

Muhammed Akil, Executive Director, Parent Coalition for Excellent Education


LOCATION: 200 MacArthur Ave Garfield

DATE: March 22, 2016

Bob Bowdon

Dr. Bari Erlichson

Panel Discussion Format

  • National Anthem
  • Student Performance
  • Welcoming remarks and Introduction (Mr. Guvercin)


    • Panel discussion:
      • Part I (60 min):  Panel Discussion
  • Moderator will present the discussion topic questions to the panelists.
  • Each panelist will be afforded 3 to 5 minutes per topic, if they so choose.
  • Among the suggested discussion topics, panelists are asked to comment on the topics in which they are most experienced.
  • No questions from the audience will be taken during Part I.
      • Part II (30 min): Audience question and answer session
  • Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions with the guidance of the moderator.
  • The moderator will ensure that all questions are relevant to the program topic and will move the discussion along accordingly.
  • Closing remarks by the moderator.
  • Refreshments and free discussion.


2016 Quality in Education Summit Discussion Questions (in no specific order):



  1. Are there alternatives to mandated standardized tests that are being considered or being used in other states that you are aware of? If so, how is data gathered and reported from these alternative assessments?
  2. Do you believe that there is a correlation between high-test scores and future employment opportunities for students? Do you think students generally believe that they gain substantial educational value through the rigors of annual standardized testing that can be translated to real world career applications?
  3. Do you believe that standardized tests are an effective way to measure student’s critical thinking skills?  What data is accessible as a result of these tests?
  4. Are students dedicating too many classroom hours per year preparing for standardized testing? Is test preparation detrimental to the foundational aspects of a well-rounded educational model that must include visual and performing arts?
  5. How do you believe teachers are impacted by preparing for and implementing standardized testing? Do you believe that a teacher’s evaluation should be based in part on his or her student’s standardized testing scores? If so, to what degree?
  6. Do you believe that colleges and universities place an appropriate value on standardized testing scores as criteria for admittance?
  7. Under NCLB and now under ESSA, at least 95 percent of eligible students are required to take the state-chosen standardized test used to hold states and school districts “accountable.” In NJ, refusal rates ranging from 4 to 15 percent were experienced last spring. Do you believe there should be any repercussions for students/parents of students who opt out of mandatory standardized testing? If so, please explain
  8. Federal funding can be withheld by the Education Department to states that dip below the 95 percent threshold. New Jersey has the authority to withhold funds to districts that don’t comply with state or federal law. Education Commissioner David Hespe has said that districts with low participation last spring wouldn’t face aid cuts this year, but would get corrective action plans to increase test participation. Do you believe there should be any repercussions for schools who opt out of mandatory standardized testing? If so, please explain.
  9. Do you feel standardized tests are culturally biased in relation to special populations?  Are these tests harmful to students with disabilities?
  10. According to state officials, New Jersey spent about $25.50 per student, or about $22 million on the PARCC exam, about $3 less per test than the state was paying for NJ ASK and HSPA, the state's previous standardized tests.  This does not include the money school districts spent upgrading their technology so students could take the exam on computers.  Do you feel this is a reasonable expenditure, or that funds could be better spent to support education?

Muhammed Akil

Janellen Duffy

Quality in Education I Ilearn Schools @ 2016



465 Boulevard Elmwood Park, NJ 07407

(201) 773-9140