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Every year a small number of seniors who graduate from New Jersey high schools can't read or write and many others find they have to take remedial education courses once they get to college. But New Jersey is trying to change that by making sure that a high school diploma unlocks more than just class attendance. The method a proficiency test. By 1981 all ninth graders will have to start trying to pass that test and not get their state endorsed diplomas unless they do when they're seniors. There are lots of questions about the test and we have with us the man responsible for it. William Mathis Director of Research and Evaluation. He'll help with some of the answers right now so what does a high school senior need to get a diploma in the state they need for years physical education health two years of history. That's all the state requirements at this time. And what will this test it what will they have to do. The test will they will have to pass this examination and the three R's reading writing and arithmetic. What's the basic level of this test and with what grade it is
given at the ninth grade and where. Thinking that by this point in time the student should have mastered the skills necessary to survive in this society. So basically this is a ninth grade level test. That. 12th graders have to pass to get it so it's not really a very tough test. You know it's not an advanced test it is not a college level test or anything of that nature. As an educator do you feel that it's right to graduate. Students with such a very basic standard. I would like to hope for more but right now we're not achieving that. This is a good place to start. This is an assembly election year and I understand that there's a debate raging in the Assembly and in. Educational circles over. Higher standards. This is true. There is some concern that we need more curricular requirements and what we have. That student should get perhaps four years of communication skills English so forth.
Two years of math and other requirements such as there are a couple of formats that could take that you could have as curriculum requirements or alternately a kind of Regents test a proficiency type of approach. It would differ here in that the local districts would be responsible for assessing the degree to which the children met state established proficiency it would be the state doing it. Then you wouldn't be infringing on local autonomy. However what kind of skills would you test if you were to do what it's being called for in the legislature in each of the curriculum areas which specify a particular proficiency which would have to be mastered. For example knowing the three branches of government and what do they do. Being able to read critically and to evaluate things basic physical principles. OK I think it's just mental but for the present we have a very basic three R's kind of test. What happens for example. If a student takes the test in the ninth grade passes it seems like there's no incentive there to do anything well can he get his diploma in the
ninth grade. They could if they met the local requirements under the existing situation. So without really saying what happens to a student who cannot pass the test. Well that was in the 12th grade. Does he not get his diploma that could hurt his job possibilities. This ultimately that could very well happen. At the end of the ninth grade if they fail the test they get extensive remediation and each year the remediation would increase. And finally towards the end of it there would be a comprehensive assessment of that student's skills which would be recommended as a basic get basic go that is to whether the student should or should not get the diploma but he might not get it which runs up another point. Blacks and Hispanics say that that. That standardized tests tend to discriminate against. They don't do very well on those. Is that a consideration of the department edge. It's definitely a consideration and we go to extreme troubles to make sure that we do not have a biased test in any shape form or fashion. Try to deal with this has been litigated
New Jersey Nightly News
Episode Number
A Closer Look: Education - Graduation Standards
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New Jersey Network (Trenton, New Jersey)
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"New Jersey Nightly News is a daily news show, featuring stories on local and national news topics."
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New Jersey Network
Identifier: 09-43783 (NJN ID)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:05:00
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Chicago: “New Jersey Nightly News; 132; A Closer Look: Education - Graduation Standards,” 1979-09-17, New Jersey Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “New Jersey Nightly News; 132; A Closer Look: Education - Graduation Standards.” 1979-09-17. New Jersey Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: New Jersey Nightly News; 132; A Closer Look: Education - Graduation Standards. Boston, MA: New Jersey Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from