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What Can Be Done About Low PARCC Test Scores?

Posted by John D'amico on December 13, 2016

According to a new story from NJ Spotlight, 186 high school seniors in 2016 did not graduate due to failing to pass the PARCC standardized tests or other required standardized tests

Half of students met their graduation requirements by taking and passing substitute tests like the SATS. And 6 percent of students, or almost 6,000, only graduated thanks to the option of portfolio appeal. The problem is that once we get to 2021, New Jersey will require all high school students to pass the language arts and Algebra I tests in order to graduate.

So this could definitely become a problem in the future. Unless PARCC scores improve, New Jersey could be left with a large amount of students not graduating high school in 2021 and the upcoming years. And a lot of people are concerned about this. But is it all as bad as it seems?

Well, it might not be. Although it is true that starting in 2021, students will be required to pass the PARCC tests in order to graduate, New Jersey will still offer students the opportunity to retake the exam if they fail the first time, according to NJ.com. So that’s one thing about it that could definitely help prevent as many students from not graduating.

It’s also worth noting that New Jersey will not be getting rid of the portfolio appeal option in 2021. So even if a student still fails the test after taking it a second time, they will still have the option to put together a portfolio of their school work and transcripts to show why they should deserve to graduate. So let’s stay there’s a student who generally does pretty well in school but for whatever reason tends to do poorly on standardized tests. There’s a chance that student might still be able to graduate. So there’s definitely a possibility that this might not lead to a huge issue with large numbers of high school seniors not graduating.

Having said that, there’s also still a decent chance that these new graduation requirements could become a problem for a lot of students come 2021. And if that’s the case, our state government might need to seriously reconsider keeping the PARCC exams as a high school graduation requirement. I’m sure nobody wants NJ to become a state with such a low high school graduation rate. So basically, I think there’s still some hope that everything is going to be alright.

Links:

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/12/06/few-class-of-2016-graduates-manage-to-pass-parcc-tests/

http://www.nj.com/education/2016/12/are_njs_high_school_graduation_parcc_rules_unfair.html

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