Last, but far from least, NJ Spotlight’s weeklong review of the state’s testing system makes a stop at the high school exams that students are required to pass for graduation.
The three-day High School Proficiency Assessment in math and language arts — lasting two-and-half hours each day — is typically administered once in March of their junior year.
If students fail either section, they have two more shots in their senior year, plus a chance through an alternative test that uses more open-ended, performance-based questions.
New Jersey also gives a biology test later this month, which is currently not required for graduation but is the precursor of the end-of-course exams that the Christie administration wants to start giving in at least math and language arts.
As we did with the elementary and middle-school tests earlier this week, NJ Spotlight is giving our readers a chance to see firsthand what is demanded of students with a few sample questions like those on the exams.
There remains plenty of debate as to whether the tests are rigorous enough. But as you can see, passing them means having a working knowledge of some algebra and statistics in math, knowing the difference between dominant and recessive genes in biology, and being comfortable with the basics of essay writing in language arts.
Take a shot, and check your answers with those at the bottom of the page. We also invite you to tell us what you think about the questions and how New Jersey tests its students overall.