Friday, November 6, 2015

N.J. releases PARCC scores needed for graduation

About half of the New Jersey students who took the state's annual algebra II and geometry exams last year did not score high enough to use their scores toward state graduation requirements, according to state data.
The state Department of Education on Wednesday released its updated graduation requirements for the New Jersey classes of 2016-2019, revealing the scores students will need on the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams.
While the majority of high school juniors scored high enough in English, only 53 percent of students from all grade levels met the target score in algebra II and 44 percent in geometry.
To use PARCC to meet graduation requirements, students will need to hit a target score on only one PARCC English and math test administered to high school students, regardless of what year they take the exam. So a student who does not meet the benchmark on the algebra II test could earn a high enough score the following year on the geometry exam.
In math, students can fulfill graduation requirements with a 750 or better on the algebra I exam or a 725 or higher on either the Algebra II or geometry exams.
For English, the state will accept a score of 750 or above on the ninth or tenth grade test and a score of 725 or better on the 11th grade exam.
A 750 is the equivalent of scoring four on PARCC's five-point scoring scale, the threshold for meeting grade-level expectations. A 725 is the same as scoring a three, a classification for students who are considering to be approaching grade-level expectations.
New Jersey will allow students to meet graduation requirements with scores that are below grade-level expectations on the higher-level tests because it's former high school exit exam was based primarily on what students learned in eighth or ninth grade, said Bari Erlichson, assistant state education commissioner.
The English test for 11th grade and math exams for algebra II and geometry are much more difficult than the test New Jersey used in past years, she said.
"In this transition, we are really working hard to not raise expectations for the diploma higher than where they have been," Erlichson said.
Prior to the introduction of PARCC, New Jersey used an exam called the High School Proficiency Assesment (HSPA) as a graduation requirement, and all students took the test in eleventh grade.
Students who couldn't pass HSPA would take an alternative test or demonstrate their abilities through a portfolio appeal process, Erlichson said.
For the next four years, students can meet graduation requirements through PARCC or a variety of other tests, including the SAT and ACT, as well as the portfolio process.
New Jersey has not yet determined graduation requirements for the Class of 2020.
School districts will receive students' PARCC scores later this month and mail the results to students, according to the state.

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