WEST ORANGE, NJ — In a district comprising nearly 7,300 students in grades K through 12, district testing coordinator Stephanie Diegmann plays an integral role in ensuring successful state and district assessment programs, read a release from the West Orange School District.
“A district test coordinator oversees test security, test administration and test distribution, which is necessary to comply with state laws and regulations,” Diegmann said in the release.
“In addition to quarterly benchmarks, which are administered to all students (in grades two through 11), we administer 9,000 PARCC state exams to students in ELA and Math, Biology, ACCESS for ELL, DLM and NJASK Science. Each student’s accommodations need to be accounted for: 504, Special Education and ESL. Of our 4,500 students that are tested, this accounts for 1,300 students,” she continued.
Diegmann has worked in the West Orange School District for 15 years. During that time she worked with Karen Tarnoff, former district testing coordinator, until her retirement in 2010. Diegmann has been the school district testing coordinator for the past six years. She received a bachelor of sociology degree from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., and a master’s degree in education from William Paterson University. In addition to her work in the West Orange School District, Diegmann taught second grade in East Orange and worked as a staff development trainer for a software company.
The responsibilities of a district testing coordinator include coordination with the Office of State Assessments and continued compliance and reporting to measure student attainment of New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards. Collection and report information about student academic achievement in order to inform instruction, increase student learning, and help parents and the public assess the effectiveness of their schools are also important considerations in the work of a DTC.
In addition to working with the state, Diegmann also ensures the validity and reliability of test scores by training and guiding administrators, teachers and students to follow the state test administration procedures and guidelines set forth by the state.
“This is achieved by delivering training information and materials on state and district testing,” Diegmann noted, “including test security and procedures before, during and after testing. Test security is a necessary component of state testing because we are mandated by New Jersey to uphold the testing guidelines.”
Once testing has been completed, Diegmann collects and analyzes the test data and provides critical data analysis to administrators, supervisors, teachers, and finally, parents and students. The information is provided in various reports including at student, class, grade and district level.
In January 2016, Diegmann presented the results of the first year of PARCC testing at a Board of Education meeting. That presentation can be found here. 2016 PARCC scores should be available by the end of the summer, according to a memo from the New Jersey Department of Education.
Diegmann understands the implementation of PARCC testing was a huge undertaking and adjustment not only for the district but families and students as well.
“PARCC testing was highly publicized in the media,” Diegmann said. “Parents and students were more aware of the whole process.” Because PARCC measures a student’s understanding of common core standards — standards already incorporated into the district curriculum — testing preparation is already embedded into it.
The district remains committed to assisting students and families in the adjustment to PARCC and alleviating any nervousness or anxiety families might feel, according to the release. After-school PARCC training is offered and Superintendent Jeff Rutzky, along with Diegmann, held a series of PARCC meetings for parents across the school district in April.
“We want to be able to look at each student and say, ‘Is the PARCC an accurate assessment of how each child is doing?’ Along with classroom assessment, PARCC can provide useful information to help each student become more successful.”