New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Information
NJ ASK will only include the area of SCIENCE. This assessment will be administered across the state of New Jersey to students in grades 4 and 8.
What does the NJ ASK Measure?
The NJ ASK measures students’ proficiency of our state-adopted SCIENCE standards.
What is the purpose of this test?
At the school district level, the NJASK is utilized in conjunction with other internal measures for the purposes of:
- Monitoring individual student's as well as cohort growth in response to curriculum and instruction.
At the state level:
- monitoring school district's adherence to state SCIENCE mandated standards
- monitoring individual student's as well as cohort growth in response to state SCIENCE standards, curriculum, and instruction.
Does my child have to participate in the test?
The NJASK assessment is mandated by the New Jersey State Department of Education (NJDOE) for all students in fourth and eighth grades.
How can I interpret my child's results?
"The total scores in Science are reported as scale scores with a range of 100 to 300. The scale score for Science is a total score based on a combination of correct answers to multiple-choice items and the number of points received for constructed-response items. Standard setting for grade 8 Science was conducted in 2000 and for grade 4 Science in 2005; raw cut scores were adopted at that time, and each subsequent test has been equated to that base year. The conversion algorithm ensures that the raw cut score for Proficient performance translates to a scale score of 200 and that the raw cut score for Advanced Proficient performance translates to a scale score of 250. The score ranges for the proficiency levels are as follows:
- Advanced Proficient 250–300
- Proficient 200–249
- Partially Proficient 100–199
Partially Proficient is considered to be below the state minimum level of proficiency. Students at this proficiency level may need additional instructional support, which could be in the form of individual or programmatic intervention, " (NJDOE, 2013, Score Interpretation Manual, p. 24).
What is the validity of the test results?
"Scale scores. Individual Student Reports are provided to districts to help them evaluate student instructional needs. To an extent, students’ proficiency levels can inform school and district decisions regarding instructional support.
- Scores indicative of Advanced Proficient performance reflect performance that has clearly met or exceeded state standards. It is rare for students falling in this range to be in need of instructional intervention.
- Scores indicative of Proficient performance reflect performance that generally has met the state standards. It is typically true that students falling in this range are not in need of instructional intervention, but one may wish to look more closely at students whose scores approach the lower end of this distribution to confirm that instructional intervention is in fact not needed.
- Scores indicative of Partially Proficient performance reflect performance that has not met the state standards. Students falling into this range are most likely to be in need of instructional support, particulaly those lower in the range. The issue of scale score reliability comes into play here. If it were possible to test a student a very large number of times, and if no learning were to take place between test administrations, some variability would nevertheless occur in the student’s scale scores. That variability relates to the concept of test-retest reliability. Although the NJ ASK is designed to optimize scale score test-retest reliability, it is not possible to produce a test with scores that are 100% reliable. A student’s NJ ASK score, therefore, should be considered an estimate of student performance level," (NJDOE, 2013, Score Interpretation Manual, p. 25).
What should parents do to ensure their child does his or her best work on the NJASK?
- Ensure a restful night’s sleep;
- Eat a healthy breakfast: stick to breakfast items that are normal for your child; eating a breakfast that is too large or rich often leads to upset stomachs;
- Limit excitement prior to or during the testing week: avoiding new experiences and excitements helps children stay focused;
- Reduce anxiety about the test: assure your child(ren) they are well-prepared; take care not to overemphasize the test;
- Arrive at school on time: students that are even a few minutes late may miss the start of a testing session and be required to make-up that session at a later date and time;
- Avoid absences: sick students of course need to stay home, however please be sure that all appointments, or other unnecessary reasons for tardiness or absences are carefully avoided; students who are able to take the test according to their regular schedule have the most appropriate testing experience.