New Jersey scrapping test for high school juniors

New Jersey is changing the way high school students are tested.

The proficiency exams given to New Jersey high school juniors will be phased out. Instead, Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf says at the end of 9th, 10th and 11th grades, students will be given exams in reading and math.

“These no longer are going to be multiple choice tests that test knowledge,” said Cerf. “At least half of these tests are going to be based on critical thinking skills and analytical skills like write a persuasive essay based in primary sources.”

Each school will develop a remediation plan for students who fail the tests. Cerf says the goal is to make sure high school graduates are prepared to enter college or the workforce. Governor Chris Christie says struggling students will be found sooner under this plan.

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“It doesn’t wait until the end of high school to make that determination when there’s nothing left for the high school to do,” said Christie. “It tests them every year so that if they see a child is falling behind they can sit with the family with the teacher with the leaders of the school and say how do we get that child back on track.”

The plan calls for the new system to take effect in five years.

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