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Board Meeting Questions & Answers » Questions and Answers about Common Core

Questions and Answers about Common Core

Questions and Answers about Common Core

Dr. Crisfield and Dr. Burton gave presentations about Common Core and PARCC on May 12 and again on May 29. 

Questions about these topics will be posted here as we continue to obtain answers, and as questions continue to be asked.

Question: How will the district handle a situation where a student opts out of taking one or more of the state’s annual standardized tests?

Answer: The district is in the process of interpreting conflicting directives from the state in this area. Though we have been told that these tests are not optional, we will not force a student to take a test. What we do with the student who “opts out” while the testing is going on for his/her peers, and how we code his/her test booklet, will be decided soon. As you can imagine, given the fact that test scores will be used to evaluate teachers now, we don’t want to make any hasty decisions on this front, but will instead devise a sensible approach that will be common among all seven of our schools.

Question: How much time will be spent on testing in 2015-16 (both the # of hours a student spends on the test and also the # of delayed openings required)?

Answer: Exactly how much time will depend on the grade level, but it will be about double what is spent now, with NJASK. The exact amount of time each segment of a PARCC test in, say, Grade 5 math will take is still being determined by the state, so we cannot at this time give exact amounts, but we can say it will be about double (since there will be two testing windows with PARCC—in March and May—compared to the one testing window now with NJASK). The other wildcard, also still not finalized, is how many delayed openings we will need at the 6-12 levels to administer PARCC. Given that it is entirely online, the logistics involved are much more complicated and we are still working out how to get the most devices in one place, at one time, while minimizing the impact on instruction elsewhere.

Question: What student data is being collected and submitted to the state via NJSMART?

Answer: NJ SMART collects directly from Millburn Township Public Schools basic demographic, special ed, course and grade information for it students. NJ SMART also collects student state test results from their own state testing systems.

A complete listing of the various submissions we make to the state as well as links to detailed documentation on the data submitted can be found at:

Question: Has the BOE given thought to the impact of the Common Core and PARCC on property values?

Answer: The Board of Education would never allow anything to compromise the quality of Millburn’s schools, as it is a generally accepted principle that a community’s schools are a large factor in what makes the community an attractive place in which to live.

Question: Did educators have input into the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?

Answer: Yes, educators were involved in the development of the CCSS.

Question: How do students incorporate diagrams and lines and shapes in their online written response as to how they arrived at an answer to a math problem?

Answer: The student responses require them to use the assessment's on-line tools to construct their answer. This includes the availability of a quarter-inch and centimeter ruler and protractor. In the Geometry Test at the HS level, there are geometry tools that students will be able to select and use in order to answer questions relating to geometric figures and properties. ​

Question: Is it possible to schedule some “parent training” sessions on ways parents can help their children with their homework (e.g., how to understand “Everyday Math”) and by extension help their children do better on standardized tests?

Answer: As we look to begin piloting a set of programs this fall at the K-5 level, we will be hosting parent nights to address the expectations on these programs that will include help and information sessions for each new program and Everyday Math. This site is also helpful:

Question: How much of the material in each grade’s language arts curriculum is “informational text” as opposed to other types of reading material?

Answer: The Common Core calls for a balance (50/50) of non-fiction/informational text and fiction texts at the elementary levels. As students move through the Middle and High Schools there is more emphasis on non-fiction/informational text in preparation for college and real world applications.

Question: Will the PARCC test scores become part of the student’s permanent transcript, will they be required by college admissions, can colleges find the test results, and will they be posted on PowerSchool?

Answer: PARCC test scores will be in students' cumulative folders. These scores do not get put on transcripts, nor are they reported to colleges or PowerSchool by the District.

QUESTION: Will the results of PARCC testing be used for student placement decisions?

Answer: The PARCC results will likely be used ​much as the NJASK results have been used as one of many indicators of students' performance to inform instructional needs.

QUESTION: Has the BOE considered, or will it consider, using something like Stanford’s “stress in schools” instrument to study the issue of stress in the Millburn schools?

Answer: We will be conducting a survey to gather data to inform next steps with regard to stress in our schools.