Standardized Testing, Day Two

The NJASK test is subject to security that I think would rival any document handling procedures at any top-secret government agency.

All teachers in each building in which testing will occur, regardless of whether or not they will actually in any likelihood handle any testing materials must be trained and sign acknowledgement of a district-wide Security Plan.

You'll find instructions such as: (Note: grammar, phrasing, spelling, and capitalization are not mine.)

 "Authorization to Receive Secure Materials form is located in the file cabinet next to the secretary's desk. Only those listed on that form will be permitted to receive test materials. The form must be presented to the courier at the time of receipt."

"In the event a student becomes ill during testing, the examiner will complete an Irregularity Report noting the situation and which section the child became ill in. This report will be turned into the STC* when testing materials are returned that day."

You don't even want to know about the sections regarding Fire Drills & Bomb Scares or about the state-mandated regulation baggies and seals used for testing materials which become "soiled" by an ill student. Let me just say that all testing materials must be returned to the state.

Testing materials (test booklets, answer sheets, instruction booklets, approved manipulatives, etc) all arrive at the building and must be signed for by someone on the Authorization to Receive Secure Materials form. Everything is sealed with sticker tabs on each section and then sealed inside plastic bags and then sealed inside the secure shipping boxes. The STC stores the materials in his or her office until testing begins. On the first day of testing, official test examiners only may go to the STC and sign out the testing materials. Both the STC and examiner must sign a sheet indicating how many of which item were taken for that day's testing.

At no time may the examiner leave the materials unattended. When the class takes their bathroom break, the examiner must collect every item personally. Students may not pass them to the front of the class. If there is any sort of emergency, the examiner must first personally gather all the testing materials before exiting the room. At the end of the day's testing, the examiner flags down a waiting hall monitor who comes and watches the students in the classroom while the examiner returns all the testing materials to the STC. The materials are counted and both again sign that the materials were returned. I cannot imagine what happens if anything is found missing.

At no time are any students, teachers, staff, etc permitted to discuss the contents of the test. Even when the testing is over for the day. This is pounded into the students' heads at least as much as the actual subject matter upon which they are tested.**

Our school is under particular scrutiny as one of the other K-8 schools in the district remains under investigation for allegations of cheating on last year's test -- these allegations come up periodically throughout the state, but are usually dropped within a few weeks ... not this time.

So, that's just a brief look into the byzantine Wonderland of standardized testing security.


*School Test Coordinator, there's also a DTC or District Test Coordinator

**At dinner last night, Emily -- who is testing this week as all New Jersey 7th graders must -- replied to my inquiry about how the day's testing went. "It was good. I had to write a persuasive essay." Her eyes expanded and her voice dropped before she intoned, "But. I. Can't. Tell. You. Anything. More." Um ... ok.

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