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Urban News Staff Reports

An Executive Order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy waives 2019-2020 statutory school year assessment requirements for eighth grade students and twelfth grade students who have not yet met the graduation assessment requirement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  
“As a state, we must continue to adapt to the new reality that COVID-19 has created in our state, a task that our students and educators are navigating every day,” said Murphy. “The waiver of these student assessment requirements will ensure that no student is left behind or unduly penalized due to these extraordinary circumstances.”
The executive order waives the graduation assessment requirement for twelfth grade students who have not yet met the assessment requirement and planned to submit a portfolio appeal. Students no longer have to submit such an appeal in order to graduate. Approximately 13,000 students were expected to submit portfolio appeals this year. 
The order also waives the statutory requirement that a statewide assessment be administered to all eighth-grade students to assess progress toward mastery of graduation proficiency standards. Additionally, the order prohibits the use of student growth data as an evaluation tool for educators and waives the statutory requirement of three observations and evaluations for all non-tenured teaching staff for the 2019-2020 school year. 
“Governor Murphy’s action establishes a rational, responsible and fair approach to eliminate disruptions faced by school students and staff,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “By clearing the pathway of obstacles, it allows schools to maintain their focus on providing critical education services to students.” 
The executive order follows the federal government’s waiver on March 24, 2020 of a federal requirement that New Jersey administer annual statewide assessments. After the federal waiver was granted, Governor Murphy announced that all statewide assessments in New Jersey would be cancelled for the 2020 spring testing window.

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