Student participation, achievement up on N.J. standardized exams

 New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe testified Wednesday before the Assembly Budget Committee that most students in the Garden State took the PARCC standardized exams. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe testified Wednesday before the Assembly Budget Committee that most students in the Garden State took the PARCC standardized exams. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey officials say a higher percentage of students met or exceeded expectations in the second year of the controversial PARCC standardized exams.

Math and language arts scores improved, according to state Education Commissioner David Hespe, and more students participated in the tests.

“For me, that demonstrates that parents not only saw the value of the information they’re receiving through the PARCC data because it gives them information about their own child’s individual student needs, but they’re becoming comfortable with the format,” Hespe said Tuesday.

Appearing with Hespe at a news conference, Gov. Christie said he was pleased with the improved performance.

“There was a lot of hysteria, as you all remember last year, people calling upon me to cancel the PARCC tests, to not administer them anymore,” he said. “What I said was we have to have patience about this.”

New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer said, however, the PARCC exam wastes time and resources for students and schools.

Making it a graduation requirement, as the state board of education is poised to do Wednesday, will disproportionately harm students with disabilities and those living in poverty, the teachers union leader said.

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