This just in from Montclair Superintendent Dr. Penny MacCormack about the online posting of assessments:
Dear Montclair Schools Community:
I am saddened to share some distressing but important news with you.
In 2010 New Jersey was one of 44 states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. To ensure they are effectively incorporated into each local district, New Jersey will begin testing to the Common Core in 2015.
Our Montclair administrative and instructional staff prepared assessments to be used during the current academic year to help both students and teachers prepare for the 2015 rollout and to highlight strengths and weaknesses in our current curriculum and pedagogical strategies. The first of these assessments are to be given next week.
Late Friday I learned that the security of our information system had been breached and 14 of the over 60 initial assessments were posted on a public website. Only these 14 assessments were available and only for a short time. Once I became aware of this breach, action was taken to preclude anyone without authorization from accessing any additional assessments.
However, the breach may have allowed some to gain advance knowledge of the specifics of the assessments and thus skew the results. The sole purpose of these assessments is to inform our teaching so we may adjust our instruction and curriculum to ensure student learning. Assessments have value only if they provide a true and accurate picture of student learning and knowledge. Artificially high scores could lead to false conclusions about student knowledge and thus thwart our efforts to ensure that every student is learning and performing to their maximum potential.
An investigation is underway as to how this breach occurred. In any event, schools will proceed next week with the assessments that were not made public. On Monday I will announce our plan for addressing the 14 publicly posted assessments. In addition, we will take immediate action should the individual or individuals post any additional assessments.
It is important to remember that our teachers and the district have been working hard to ensure that all students are adequately prepared when statewide testing begins in 2015. Our primary goal is to make certain that, under the Common Core Standards, Montclair continues to be a district in which all students excel.