By: Pauline Tsui, Contributing Writer (‘25)
NJ State testing has returned this year in the form of NJGPA. All juniors in the district took assessments on English and Math this past March.
New Jersey state testing originally began in 2004, expanding in later years to include grade levels beyond elementary school. The Start Strong Assessment, created in substitution for the state test in 2020, required students to open weary eyes to incessant test questions in the autumn of 2021. As the complaints of many students and staff were disregarded by The New Jersey Department of Education, a new test, named the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment (NJGPA), was issued. The Class of 2023 was selected to take the NJGPA.
Despite the last standardized test being administered four years ago, the New Jersey Department of Education has made the brazen decision to allow state tests to determine graduation caps. Authorizing graduation based on score percentages, the NJGPA determines the future of all juniors in New Jersey.
Mrs. Peller, a test proctor and English teacher, emphasizes the “many ways a student can demonstrate learning; it doesn’t have to be from a test of this nature.” The objective of the New Jersey Department of Education concentrates on enhancing education to manifest student potential, yet the actions of the department encompass many contradictions. According to Abby Klein, a student in the class of 2023, the NJGPA fails to acknowledge the potential of graduating students by obscuring classes, GPA, and extracurriculars. With the diverse grade levels taking the exam, a common view resurfaced—“students do not benefit from additional stress” communicates Kate Giletta, a student in the class of 2025. Assessing the impact of state testing, the magnitude of stress being endured by students is substantial. With the pandemic being mixed into the stresses and worries of many students, negative views of state testing augmented.
Selin Uygun, a junior taking the NJGPA, shares a lack of enthusiasm toward tests and says “[for] the classes right after the test is taken, and it determines whether you pass your grade level or not. I’m not worried about passing or not, but I can see how it might worry some other students. I just don’t feel like taking it, but [I] will need to endure it.”
Utilizing statistics as an argument by the New Jersey Department of Education, Mrs. Leggour, a social studies supervisor and teacher, says “I’m unsure if the benefit of data can, or should, supersede those feelings experienced by those students. I think it is an important point to note within the academic community when considering implementation of standardized, high stakes tests.”
With distinct opposition to the recent increase in state testing, whether or not high stake tests are being administered in the future remains uncertain. As an announcement by the department confirms the annual PARCC testing in the spring, the dread of taking a third state test looms over students in New Jersey.