TRENTON – Gov. Christie today endorsed a series of recommendations intended to increase the number of graduates and ensure that all students graduate from high school truly ready for college and career.
These recommendations, contained in a report released today from the College and Career Readiness Task Force, will transition New Jersey away from the current high school assessments – High School Proficiency Exam (HSPA) and Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) – to a new series of end-of-course assessments that measure student readiness at each grade level. These new measures are intended to help schools identify students in need and target individual supports to put them on track for high school graduation.
Paired with the phasing in of a new, federally mandated methodology for calculating the graduation rate, these reforms aim to ensure that graduating from high school in New Jersey means having the skills and knowledge to be ready to enter college or the workforce, and that educators have the tools to help students get there.
“Preparing students for college and career is not only a moral imperative, it is an economic necessity to keep New Jersey competitive given the demands of the 21st century. In too many areas of our state – often in our lowest performing districts – when students graduate high school they are not truly ready for college or a career. These new graduation requirements will better measure college and career readiness so that a high school diploma earned in New Jersey is the gold standard for the country,” said Christie.
Twenty-four states, including New Jersey, are moving toward end-of-course assessments for language arts literacy and math to be implemented in the 2014-15 school year as part of their participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). For the first time, these new assessments will create a common set of expectations among K-12 educators, higher education, and the business community to ensure that when students graduate from high school they are ready for the next step of their education or their career without the need for remediation. These new assessments will not only measure the knowledge that students have attained, but half of the tests will also measure how well they can apply that knowledge to real-world situations through writing and the use of critical thinking skills.
The Obama Administration has provided financial support and fostered the development of these new assessments through this state-driven PARCC consortium. These new graduation requirements aim to ensure that a New Jersey high school diploma is a meaningful measure of college and career readiness, increase the number of students that graduate high school ready for the 21st century, and align the K-12 and college experiences to ultimately increase the number of college graduates in the state.
“I applaud leaders from K-12 education, higher education, and the business community for their work in coming together and making thorough, thoughtful and meaningful recommendations to modernize our school system. Every child who walks off the graduation stage in New Jersey should do so with a diploma in their hand that symbolizes to colleges and employers that they are truly ready for that next stage of their life,” said Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf.
A copy of the College and Career Readiness Task Force report can be found at the New Jersey Department of Education’s website: http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/readiness.pdf
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