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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.

In response to COVID-19, we have partnered with Renaissance Learning to make sure that STAR Assessments will be accessible to all of our students and teachers, regardless of whether an individual is in a fully remote, hybrid, or in-person learning setting.  As a result, our team of educators will continue to be able to use the STAR Assessments to identify needs and monitor students’ progress towards goals, for all of our learners in Howell.  Your child’s school will be able to share specific information about how your child will be participating in the STAR Assessments.

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 17, 2020 - October 16, 2020

All students K-8


January 18, 2021 - February 12, 2021

All students K-8


May 14, 2021 - June 11, 2021

All students K-8



At this time, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has not announced its plans for the Spring 2021 administration of any Statewide Assessments, or regarding participation in the NAEP national assessment.  This includes the following tests:

  1. NJSLA for ELA, Mathematics & Science, Grades 3-8
  2. DLM for ELA, Mathematics & Science, Grades 3-8
  3. ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 for English as a Second Language students in Grades K-8
  4. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Recently, the NJDOE has posted this message on its Assessment webpage regarding statewide testing for the 2020-2021 school year:

As New Jersey prepares for an unprecedented start to the 2020-2021 school year, the NJDOE will continue to closely monitor developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the school year and will evaluate administration and policy decisions regarding state assessments as accordingly.

-NJDOE, Office of Assessments at




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.



Parental Notification of Standardized Assessment


STAR & Lexile


State Assessments – NJSLA, DLM, ACCESS for ELLs 2.0


National Assessments - NAEP