State Board of Education Adopts Changes to Streamline QSAC Monitoring and to Put Increased Focus on Student Achievement, Health and Safety, and Fiscal Accountability
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Justin Barra
|Date: March 7, 2012||609-292-1126|
Trenton, NJ - The State Board of Education voted today to streamline the state process for monitoring school districts through amendments to the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC). The changes begin to reduce burdensome compliance and paperwork requirements for districts while focusing on factors that are central to student achievement, health and safety, and fiscal accountability. The changes are part of a larger initiative to remove bureaucratic red tape and focus both state and district resources on what matters most – improving student achievement. The Department has committed to continuing to review QSAC to make it a more meaningful improvement tool and to align it with the state’s new school-level accountability system outlined in its No Child Left Behind flexibility application, which was approved by the US Department of Education last month.
“By adopting these recommendations, we can begin to replace a burdensome system with one that measures what’s important. We can eliminate redundancies and free up resources to focus on the needs of all students to provide the highest quality educational experience,” State Board President Arcelio Aponte said.
The recommended changes were developed by a QSAC task force comprised of educators, administrators and district board members from across the state, along with staff from the New Jersey Department of Education. This group reviewed all components of the QSAC regulation and proposed amendments to create a process that focuses on the critical components of school district effectiveness. The proposed amendments to the QSAC process will allow districts to focus attention and resources on factors that directly impact student achievement, fiscal accountability, and local district governance.
“We must continue to hold our schools and districts accountable for what matters most – whether their students are learning at high levels,” said Acting DOE Commissioner Chris Cerf. “This action by the State Board today is just one more step to ensure that we are focusing state and districts resources on improving student achievement.”
Under QSAC, public school districts are evaluated in five component areas—instruction and program, fiscal management, governance, personnel, and operations—to determine the extent to which a thorough and efficient education is being provided. The review has three components: a self-evaluation by the district, a review by the Executive County Superintendent, and then a final determination by the Commissioner. The district’s placement on the performance continuum determines whether improvement is required and the extent of any technical assistance, support, or oversight the district may receive from the Department. QSAC also includes a process for both initiating and withdrawing from partial or full state intervention in a school district.
Among others, the changes today include:
In its interim report in September, the Education Transformation Task Force identified a number of deficiencies in the current QSAC process. Among others, the report outlined how QSAC focuses on district “capacity” rather than student performance; that the information provided under current QSAC regulations is inconsistent, unreliable, and fails to distinguish between very different districts; that it has failed to drive district improvement; and that it overlaps and at times contradicts the state’s school-level accountability system.
The changes approved today will take effect immediately for districts undergoing a QSAC review this year.