Over half of NJ students don’t perform at grade level: report

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NEW JERSEY — More than half of New Jersey third-grade through eleventh-grade students are not performing at grade level, according to the results of a controversial exam, known as the PARCC test. Despite the below average scores released yesterday, New Jersey’s Education Commissioner David Hespe said parents and students stand to gain from the exam.

“There are many students who are not on track to college and career readiness. Those are the students that we now know we have to be working with,” he said.

Some parents disagree, calling the scores invalid.

“It kind of feeds into the whole narrative and this idea that our schools are failing, and our teachers are terrible and our kids aren’t smart and of course none of things are true,” said an Allendale, N.J. mom, Julie Borst.

“It’s all about fitting children into little boxes,” added Carolee Adams, an education activist and president of the Eagle Forum, which is described as a ‘pro-family’ organization.

Hespe contends that the PARCC results provide parents with an honest picture of where their child stands.

“This was our promise that we actually made to parents, that we were going to be able to to provide them with accurate information about where their child was. What progress has their child made? What do they need to do to make certain that that child can graduate on track to go to college without remediation, be able to pursue the program they want in college or enter a career?” he said.

Despite any promises, dozens of states have dropped the PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

Hundreds of thousands of parents in New Jersey and New York chose to keep their kids from taking the exam. Hespe said that opt-outs did not impact New Jersey’s statewide scores.

Students will find out their individual scores beginning next month.