N.J. graduation requirement at issue as panel considers intent of PARCC test

The New Jersey Assembly Education Committee votes Monday to advance the measure to scrap passing the PARCC standardized test as a requirement for high school graduation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The New Jersey Assembly Education Committee votes Monday to advance the measure to scrap passing the PARCC standardized test as a requirement for high school graduation. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A New Jersey Assembly committee has moved to end a requirement that high school students pass the standardized PARCC test to graduate.

Assemblywoman Mila Jasey introduced the measure because she said regulations adopted by the state Board of Education last year are inconsistent with legislative intent.

“The PARCC exams to my understanding were always meant to assess and inform instruction, not to make decisions about graduation,” said Jasey, D-Essex, during a Monday hearing.

Standardized tests correlate with income and requiring proficiency in PARRC tests to graduate from high school is unfair for students in low-income areas, said Camden resident Sue Altman.

“New Jersey already has over 100,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 out of work,” Altman said. “Policies that increase those numbers will hurt the youth in Camden and in our entire state. It is problematic to weaponize a test and weaponize education against our most vulnerable students.”

Assemblyman Robert Auth, who said he doesn’t like the PARCC tests, said he worried that eliminating the requirement without a replacement could jeopardize students getting a thorough and efficient education.

“I’m so afraid for the students and their parents in the underperforming school districts that they’re going to be abandoned by just leaving a vacuum,” said Auth, R-Bergen.

The PARCC graduation requirement would be rescinded if both houses of the legislature approve the resolution.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.