New Jersey Public Schools Reimplement Graduation Required Testing

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Sydney Kaul

Scantrons and blue books often used for standardized testing and essays

Sydney Kaul, Editor-in-Chief

For the past two years, Governor Phil Murphy waived the graduation testing requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now returned to the normal requirements. In 2017, he tried to permanently eliminate the requirement, but never won support from the state Legislature. 

So for that reason, starting this year, spring 2022, New Jersey schools will require a new graduation test. The current junior class of 2023 will be the first class to take the test. The test has been named NJGPA, New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment. 

It will be administered to students across New Jersey starting on March 14th through March 18th. It will be fully in-person, as a virtual test will not be an option. 

New Jersey’s Board of Education approved the 11th grade exam as it will test students in English and Math in order to graduate. It is a fully computer-based exam, similar to the NJSLA or PARCC. NJGPA will cover standard 10th grade English, Algebra 1, and Geometry throughout the three course day.

The “cut score” or passing score for this test was proposed at 725 for both sections on a scale from 650-850. Students who do not pass have several other paths or solutions to graduate. Alternative tests or portfolio assessments will be available to those that do not meet the cute score. 

On determining this cut score, Andrew Mulvihill, vice president for NJ’s State Board of Education, felt that “There is a concern that we are graduating students by setting a cut score that may be too low who are not ready for their career or not able to do simple things necessary for them to be successful”. 

Mulvihill feels as though that passing this test essentially gives students the green light. A passing score gives students the idea that they are ready to continue in their academic career, so it is unwise to create a low cut score because it gives students the impression that they are prepared when they are, in fact, not. 

Following up with his concern of setting an effective cut score, Mulvihill shares that “We have to have high expectations. If we have low expectations, we’ll get low results”. 

For students, the news that standardized testing is coming back is not exciting. However, there is a method to the madness. Mulvihill highlights that these tests are crafted to benefit students and are not just given to them to be troublesome and trivial. The NJGPA has been set for the junior classes to take to ensure they are absorbing the necessary material to set them up for future success.