Should N.J. students have to take some kind of test to graduate?

February 13, 2019 | Star-Ledger

Imagine being a high school graduate and finding out a few months before your big day that a court decision has put in jeopardy your ability to walk across the stage and receive a diploma. Yes, for four years, you followed the rules, took the assessments and exams and all of a sudden an Appellate Court, that you didn’t know existed, has decided the rules you followed weren’t the right rules.

That is the reality for 170,000 New Jersey high school students who as of this moment have no clear path to graduation. For years, New Jersey high school students have had to pass the Algebra 1 assessment (anytime from 7th grade to 11th grade) and the English assessment given in 10th grade. These exams ensured that students who graduated had the skills required to attend college and be ready for the workforce.

The court decided that these exams, because they weren’t given in 11th grade as indicated in statute, violated the law. Today’s seniors can’t go back in time to 11th grade to have a do-over and there is no readily available exam meeting the requirements set forth by the court. So without an immediate legislative remedy, current high school seniors will be unable to graduate this spring.

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