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New Jersey Officials Face Backlash After Adding Exit Exams to Graduation Requirement

New Jersey Officials Face Backlash After Adding Exit Exams to Graduation Requirement

Starting in 2021, all New Jersey high schoolers must past PARCC exams in both Algebra I and English in order to earn their high school diploma. The move to tie exit exams to graduation requirements is causing an uproar throughout the state from individuals and groups who believe such a decision makes it too difficult for students to graduate.

Despite the criticism, New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe said the change is necessary to ensure that all of the state’s students are ready for college without remedial help after graduating.

According to The Courier-Post, "Hespe said the PARCC tests are a better measure of skill and college readiness – a change that’s needed because many students need remedial help before they can start college even after graduating high school.”

For students who aren’t able to graduate because they are unable to pass the PARCC test, the state says it will consider an option that lets students appeal for the diploma with a "portfolio of school work, projects and transcripts.”

Still, opponents of the new requirement argue that tying tests to graduation requirements is too much of a one-size-fits-all approach that leaves countless students and families without options.

New Jersey residents aren’t alone in this thought process. Nationwide, many states have opted to get rid of test scores as graduation requirements due to the concern that they significantly decrease graduation rates.

Proponents of the exams counter that decreasing graduation rates are okay- in fact, they indicate that students aren’t graduating high school underprepared.

As it stands, only 15 states currently require students to pass tests in order to graduate, The Courier-Post says, which is a significant decrease from just four years prior. New Jersey will now be the 16th state to have such a requirement.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

8/4/2016

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