The List: NJ Schools with the Most Students Not Taking the Online PARCC Exams

Highest percentages of students who didn’t take exams were mostly from more affluent districts

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The PARCC exams will be soon be administered once again – but the state’s first experience with the controversial tests in 2015 continues to resonate, not just for the many students who took the tests but for the many students who didn’t.

The Christie administration hasn’t provided data on exactly how many sat out the test in protest, maintaining that PARCC provided no way to count each student based on their motivation. There were alternative tests available to students, and other reasons for missing the testing, state officials said.

But beyond dispute is the fact that more students missed the PARCC tests than for any previous testing, led by those at the high-school level.

[related]Following is a list of the 10 high schools with the highest percentage of students absent for the various tests, also taking into account the size of the school and other data.

1. Science Park High School

While this list is dominated by schools from the wealthier suburbs, Newark’s selective Science Park High School led the way in terms of percentages, with an active student group doing much of the organizing against the testing. Better than 9 in 10 students didn’t take the 10th-grade language arts tests and the Algebra II test.

2. Montclair High School

Right up the road, Montclair was a hotbed of the protest movement in a number of its schools. At the high school, 92 percent of 11th-graders didn’t take the language arts test, and 80 percent weren’t counted on any of the math tests.

3. Brick Memorial High School

This Monmouth County high school saw a large protest movement organized by parents. Just 8 percent of students took the Algebra II test, while only 16 percent took the 11th-grade language arts exam.

4. Morristown High School

Another case of 11th-graders skipping the test, in part because it was not required to graduate. Nearly 90 percent sat out the language arts, and 82 percent skipped the highest level math exam.

5. Princeton High School

The district got a lot of attention for its opt-out movement, and also saw juniors sitting out in large numbers. But the percentages dropped in the lower grades into the 60 percent-70 percent range, albeit still a majority of students.

6. Ramsey High School

Ramsey High School was among several northern Bergen County high schools to see high numbers of students not taking PARCC tests. Nine in 10 juniors didn’t take the language arts test, although the percentage dropped to just about half in ninth grade.

7. Westwood Jr./Sr. High School

This is another affluent district that saw a vocal protest movement. It has had many students who had other options for passing the high school graduation requirements. Of the school’s 11th-graders, 91 percent weren’t tested. The percentage not taking the exams dropped below 50 percent in ninth grade.

8. Pascack Hills High School

This was another Bergen County high school with high numbers who didn’t take the test. Interestingly, the percentages were not quite matched by its regional brethren at Pascack Valley High School. Pascack Hills saw 90 percent of 11th-graders not take the language arts test, while 75 percent didn’t take the Algebra II exam.

9. Livingston High School

This Essex County high school drew some media attention when its superintendent informed families of the process for sitting out the exams. In the end, 90 percent of 11th graders skipped the language arts test, although that dropped to 54 percent for ninth-graders.

10. (tied) Bernards High School, Montville High School, Ridgewood High School, Cherry Hill High School East and West Orange High School

These schools were the leaders among dozens of high schools where at least a half of the students sat out one PARCC test or another.

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