Despite comments from several boards of education and parents across the state that expressed concerns about PARCC tests, the New Jersey State Board of Education has voted to make passing the Algebra I and language arts tests a graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2021.
Currently, students in New Jersey must pass a test in order to graduate, with PARCC being one option. For students entering eighth grade this year, PARCC will become the only option. Students who fail repeated attempts will be able to appeal to the state through a portfolio process.
PARCC has been administered for two years in New Jersey, which is one of six states plus the District of Columbia remaining in the consortium. Though students “made gains” on the second administration of the test, questions about the validity of assessment remain, and more than 50% of New Jersey’s students would not have met the graduation requirement based on results this year.
New Jersey is the second state to require PARCC proficiency for graduation, and according to EdWeek, this decision could impact graduation rates. The decision is particularly troubling since the state decided to replace the Common Core Standards with a revised version. Questions about the alignment of PARCC to the newly adopted standards abound.
Activist groups like Save Our Schools NJ continue to mount grassroots campaigns against PARCC and this recent decision of the state board of education, and NJ legislators have been cited in the media as opposed to the decision. Whether the graduation requirement remains in tact until the graduating class of 2021 actually graduates is a topic of conversation in NJ, one that will continue to unfold in the coming months.