New Jersey lawmakers are considering eliminating high school graduation proficiency tests that are taken by high school juniors. If the test is dropped, high school students will no longer have to pass the test in order to graduate. Eleven states, including New Jersey, still maintain a testing requirement to graduate high school.
Bill sponsors wrote, per NJ Patch, that standardized tests can be “inconsistent” and “biased” as some of the reasons why they should be eliminated.
The bill was introduced in both the Assembly and Senate later last year (S3308/A4639). Noted in the bill, the State Board of Education prohibits “including in the standards for graduation from high school a requirement that students achieve satisfactory performance on the Statewide graduation proficiency test.”
Assemblymember and bill sponsor Mila M. Jasy (Essex/Morris) wrote in the bill, “[The graduation exit testing] does not accurately represent student learning or career and college readiness.”
“Studies have shown numerous flaws with standardized testing, including variation in student performance based on external circumstances, strong racial and socioeconomic biases, and inconsistency with material taught in class,” she added.
For the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy suspended the exit test. For those years, the other state standardized exams were also suspended due to the pandemic.
Last March, students took a trial run of the exit exam. Gov. Murphy later waived the requirement for the Class of 2023 due to the pandemic.