The map shows the percentage of students graduating from New Jersey high schools last June who passed the High School Proficiency Assessment.
Note: Data was unavailable for Mount Olive and Montague students attend high school in New York state.
Source: N.J. Department of Education
As Gov. Chris Christie proposed changing the tests New Jersey students need to pass in order to graduate, the state Department of Education released data showing just 8 of 10 graduating seniors are passing the current test.
Christie on Monday unveiled a plan to replace the High School Proficiency Assessment — students get three chances to pass it, beginning in the spring of junior year — with end-of-course exams in language arts and math at the 9th, 10th and 11th grade levels. The HSPA only measures skills at an 8th grade level, the governor said. The state may also recommend science and social studies tests.
The next day, the DOE released data showing the percentage of 2011 graduates in each district who passed the HSPA, as well as those who were exempt from taking it and those who completed an alternate assessment. Statewide, 82.2 percent of graduates had passed the HSPA, while 14.3 percent had completed the alternate assessment and 3.5 percent were exempt from testing.
While the HSPA, which measures achievement in reading, writing and math, is a graduation requirement, students who do not pass it may graduate via the Alternative High School Assessment. Some students, typically those with severe learning disabilities, may be exempted from any testing.
While the state has tried in the past to limit the number of students exempt from passing the HSPA, there were 17 districts in which a majority of the students who graduated last year did not pass the test. Seven of those were Abbott districts, considered among the most disadvantaged in the state, and others were charter schools in Abbott communities.
The data show there are wide variations in the percent of graduates who passed the test of language arts and math. For instance, every graduate of the Union County Vocational district passed the HSPA, while just 14 percent of the graduates of Trenton’s Emily Fisher Charter School did.
Conversely, 25 schools did not exempt any student from some high school assessment, while 22 percent of the graduates from the Mercer County Vocational district were exempt from the HSPA and the AHSA. Emily Fisher, which the state is seeking to close, had the largest percentage — 77 percent — who graduated based on that alternate assessment.
To see the data for most high school districts, click on a municipality. No data were reported for Mount Olive High School in Morris County. Students from Montague at the northern tip of the state attend high school in Port Jervis, New York, and so are not bound by the state’s testing rules. Data for the vocational and charter schools are available in the accompanying document.