Why is Cami Blocking Access to Test Scores?

Originally appeared on Bob Braun’s Ledger

Results of this year’s administration of the state NJ Assessment of Schools and Knowledge (ASK) tests have been delivered to the central Newark administration–but Cami Anderson, the state-appointed schools superintendent, has blocked school principals and other building administrators from seeing and analyzing them.

While building administrators in other school districts–including those in Essex County–have had access to the school scores since last week, Newark school officials have been unable to log on to the site where the scores are kept.

Passwords have been changed.

“The state is telling us we should be able to see the scores and begin developing analyses of them,” said one school administrator in Newark who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution from Anderson. “But, when we tried to get on the site, we were blocked.”

According to documents posted by the state Department of Education and Measurement, Inc., the private testing company hired by the state, districts should have received school-based NJ ASK scores no later than August 8, although the test results will not be made public until later in the fall.

Last year, Newark school administrators–like administrators in other districts–had access to test scores and were able to begin analyzing them and preparing reports for their schools.  That is not true this year–although some administrators insist that, last year as well, Anderson tried to block administrators from getting an early look at the test results.

“Building principals were told they needed new passwords last year but they found out the old passwords still worked,” said one administrator. “Apparently, this time, Cami was more successful keeping principals away from the test results.”

The NJ ASK results assume greater political significance this year because of a number of developments–including the use of student test results to evaluate teacher effectiveness and efforts by Anderson to force public neighborhood schools to compete with charter schools, a competition in which the test results could play a major part.

“We should be using the test results to make changes in our curriculum and in our teaching strategies,” said one administrator, “but we all know that those results have become much more important to the politics of educational reform. The jobs of teachers and administrators are on the line.”

The effort by Anderson to block access to test results comes as children are being dispersed throughout the school district as the state regime attempts to reorganize enrollment to close neighborhood public schools and open new charters and other privatized operations.

“Isn’t it interesting that building employees and parents won’t be getting this vital information just as school is close to opening up under the One Newark plan,” said an administrators.

An email sent to the NPS communications department requesting an explanation for the lack of access to test results was not answered.

(Administrators from Newark and other schools are urged to report their experience with trying to gain access to test results by emailing me at bob@bobbraunsledger.com. All communications will be confidential and deleted after use. Anonymous information is welcome and used if this site can substantiate its accuracy).