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District Assessments - STAR Assessments in Early Literacy, Reading and Mathematics 

To monitor the academic progress of all students, the school district utilizes the STAR Reading, STAR Mathematics, and STAR Early Literacy Assessments, through Renaissance Learning. The STAR Assessments are computerized assessments, designed to help educators personalize instruction based on the individual learning needs of students, as well as help students and teachers track student progress towards learning goals.

These assessments are dynamic, in that they adapt to a child’s academic level during the course of the test. In this way, the STAR Assessments are individualized for each student, in order to provide a more specific measure of how each student is progressing towards achieving learning expectations. The following chart indicates the grade levels that will be assessed, as well as the content areas to be assessed at each level. Specific dates for testing vary by grade level and classroom.

STAR Assessments & Grade Levels*


* Students progress from STAR Early Literacy to STAR Reading based on their individual readiness and performance on the assessments. Grade levels listed are approximations.

Early Literacy

Grades K-2*


Grades 1*-8


Grades 1-8


All K-8 students will be scheduled to participate in the appropriate assessment at some point during the Fall, Winter and Spring Screening Windows. Teachers will continue to use the Progress Monitoring features available through the STAR program outside of the formal Districtwide Screening Windows.  It is critical to understand that the dates listed in the chart below reflect the entire window within which schools may schedule students for STAR. Individual students are not engaged in assessment during every day within the Screening window.

Districtwide STAR Screening Windows


September 22, 2021 - October 15, 2021

All students K-8


January 18, 2022 - February 11, 2022

All students K-8


May 16, 2022 - June 8, 2022

All students K-8



New Jersey Start Strong Assessments for FALL 2021


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Education approved an alternative assessment plan for the State of New Jersey, which requires that students in Grades 4-8 participate in a Statewide Assessment for the FALL of 2021, known as the NJ Start Strong Assessment.  This computer-based assessment is intended to provide important information to teachers that will assist them in planning for instruction to meet individual students’ needs, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ learning.  It is not necessary to have children study for the test, since Start Strong assessments are designed as a pre-assessment.  Just like a pre-test, Start Strong is intended to measure the academic readiness of students, for the courses they are just starting in the 2021-2022 school year.  The only preparation necessary is that students are appropriately rested, well-nourished, and prepared to try their very best during the Start Strong assessments.  This will help to ensure that the results of the test most accurately reflect students’ strengths and needs, so that teachers can use this information to plan instruction in the classroom. 




Grade Levels


NJ START STRONG English Language Arts

Grades 4-5

October 12, 2021


Grades 4-5

October 13, 2021

NJ START STRONG English Language Arts

Grades 6-8

October 13, 2021

NJ START STRONG Mathematics^



^Students participate in the mathematics assessment aligned with their current middle school course, either general grade level mathematics (including pre-algebra), Algebra, Geometry.

Grades 6-8

October 14, 2021


Grade 6 only

October 15, 2021

Make-up testing: NJ START STRONG

Grades 4-8


October 22, 2021









State Assessment Schedule for the 2021-2022 School Year 

*Dates for NJSLA in Grades 6-8 have been updated to accommodate maximize the time available for all students.

Test/Content Area

Grade Levels


NJSLA – Science

Grade 5

May 4, 5

NJSLA – Science

Grade 8

May 5, 6

NJSLA English Language Arts

Grades 3-5

May 9, 10

NJSLA Mathematics

Grades 3-5

May 11, 12, 13

NJSLA English Language Arts

Grades 6-8

May 18,19*

*Dates Updated

NJSLA Mathematics – Grade-level Courses*

 *Students not enrolled in Algebra I or Geometry courses.

Grades 6-8


May 24, 25, 26*

*Dates Updated

NJSLA Algebra I/Geometry+


+Students enrolled in Algebra I & Geometry courses.

Middle School Course-based

May 24, 25*

*Dates Updated

Make-ups for NJSLA Grades 3-8 ALL TESTS

Grades 3-8

Through June 3rd

Dynamic Learning Maps^

ELA, Mathematics, Science

(Students participate in DLM as an alternative to NJSLA, according to Individualized Education Plans.)

Grades 3 – 8

April 1 – May 27

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0^

(All students eligible for English as a Second Language instruction participate.)


Grades K – 8


Feb 14  – April 8


^The dates indicate the full window available in which students may be tested.  Students participating in the DLM and ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 are not engaged in testing on each day within the window.  For specific testing date information, please contact your child’s school, ESL teacher, teacher, or Case Manager.




New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA)

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) requires that ALL Grade 3-8 students in the State’s public school system participate in state-mandated assessments. The New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA) is used to assess students in the content areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics for Grades 3-8, and Science for Grades 5 and 8. These state assessments are computer-based, and are aligned with the standards for student learning in New Jersey, known as the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.  The District’s NJSLA testing schedule has been carefully developed to adhere to the scheduling parameters defined by the NJDOE, yet maximize the time still available for instruction on the testing days. This was accomplished by keeping the amount of time devoted to the assessment on each given day at the minimum.


ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

The ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 is used to monitor the progress of English as a Second Language students in their acquisition of the English Language.  This assessment is comprised of four units, each assessing one of the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading and writing.  The assessment integrates the content areas of English Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies.  Students will not be testing each day within the defined window.  The District’s ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 testing schedule has been carefully developed to adhere to the scheduling parameters defined by the NJDOE.  The test format is dependent on the grade level of the child participating in the test, as indicated in the chart below.

ACCESS for ELLs 2.0



Grades 1-3

Online & Paper-based

Grades 4-8



Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)

The DLM is an alternate assessment, designed for students with the most significant disabilities.  This computer-based assessment is available in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.  The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) are the result of collaboration between the University of Kansas, New Jersey, and other states.  Parent of students participating in the DLM can obtain additional information through their child’s Case Manager, teacher, or the links below. 


National Assessments - National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Annually, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is administered to students across the nation to evaluate the academic progress of children across the country.  Information from the NAEP is utilized in the development of the Nation’s Report Card, which can be accessed at http://www.nationsreportcard.gov. Schools are selected randomly by the United States Department of Education (USDE) to participate in the NAEP assessment.

Howell Township Middle School North has been scheduled to have randomly selected students participate in the NAEP in Social Studies in March 2022.  Students who will participate in the assessment receive direct notification from the school regarding dates and times of testing. 



Additional Information on Assessments


STAR & Lexile


State Assessments – START STRONG, NJSLA, DLM, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0


National Assessments - NAEP