New education task force to qualify/quantify ‘college and career ready’

TRENTON – The state Department of Education announced the formation of the College and Career Readiness Task Force, a group of K-12 and higher education practitioners and business community representatives.

The task force, expected to deliver recommendations by the end of the year, has 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,” according to a DOE release.

“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,” said Acting DOE Commissioner Christopher Cerf.

“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.

“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, the state adopted the Common Core State Standards, “a first step to ensuring that all students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career,” according o the department.

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 last June.

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 Education Department stated. 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, according to the state.

“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,” Cerf said in the release.

The DOE is evaluating the state’s high school assessments, and this new task force will discuss the degree to which the HSPA and AHSA exams are appropriately gauging college and career readiness. 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.

The task force members are as follows:

Casey Crabill, President
Raritan Valley Community College

Bob Goodman, Teacher
Bergen County Vocational and Technical School District
Executive Director of the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning

Dana Egreczky, Vice President, Workforce Development
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Bari Erlichson, Chief Performance Officer
New Jersey Department of Education

Jeff Hauger, Director, Office of Assessments
New Jersey Department of Education

Rochelle Hendricks, Secretary/Executive Director
Commission on Higher Education
(Glen Lang, designee)

Barbara Gantwerk, Assistant Commissioner, Programs and Operations
New Jersey Department of Education

Michael Gorman, Superintendent
Pemberton Township Schools

Darryl Greer, Executive Director
New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities

Dave Hespe, Chief of Staff
New Jersey Department of Education

Harvey Kesselman, Provost/Executive VPAA
Richard Stockton College

Steve Koffler, NJDOE Technical Advisory Committee/
Adjunct Faculty at The College of New Jersey

Mary Jane Kurabinski, Director, Office of Literacy
New Jersey Department of Education

Penny MacCormack, Interim Chief Academic Officer
New Jersey Department of Education

Courtney McAnuff, Vice President of Enrollment
Rutgers University

Larry Nespoli, Executive Director
Council of Community Colleges

Michael Pennella, Superintendent
Essex County Vocational Schools

Peter Renwick, Principal
Westfield High School

Kathleen Waldron, President
William Paterson University

Ray Yannuzzi, President
Camden County College