Reaction to NJGPA Testing


Sabrina Stroman

Let’s go back to March 2020, the beginning of the pandemic in Kearny. Many students must have been thrilled to learn that the annual PARCC/NJSLA testing scheduled for the same time period was canceled. Although we all know that it is mandatory testing, everyone could agree that it was rather tedious. From starting the test early in the morning to finishing segments in less than an hour after the clock started, and then waiting around for almost another hour for the timer to end. And this process would repeat for the week of school time that was cut out for it. While elementary schoolers still had their full day, middle school and high school students would have half days. Of course, not everyone had the same experience but that would be a general outline of the procedure. Since then not a singular mandatory state assessment has been administered and no one seems to have noticed or cared too much. But during the early 2021-22 school year things drastically changed.

The state of New Jersey green-lighted a new standardized state assessment to test the knowledge of current juniors for graduation. This test is now called the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Test or NJGPA for short. It uses the same program, TestNav, as the PARCC and NJSLA yet is formatted a bit differently. It covers Algebra 1 and Geometry, which current juniors that are ahead of the required math curriculum have completed 2 years ago in freshman year, and three years ago in 8th grade. Additionally, it covers English topics and includes 2 essays. 

Not only is this a sudden shock but the fact that it is one of the assessments that our graduation rides on is a lot to take in. The current juniors, Class of 2023, have not taken a full standardized state test since 2019 in 8th grade. Even though COVID-19 derailed state testing up until now, our high school curriculum was far from affected. We have since advanced our studies, and aside from all of the junior stress that comes from classes, extracurriculars, college browsing, and testing season about to be in full swing, a new state test that hangs our graduation status in the balance is the last thing we need. Making such a big change so suddenly just when juniors are getting used to in-person school again was not the best decision in my opinion but I would not be the only one who thinks so. I also asked a few of my peers for their opinions on the NJGPA and these were their responses.


Lance Tom: It isn’t reasonable and I don’t feel like I’ll enjoy it at all.

Jeremy Marchena: It’s kind of dumb. I don’t believe it’s fair for us to have to remember stuff that we did in freshman year and what not.

Leo: After 3 years of not testing and not having a full year of education, I feel as if this is unfair and we needed an earlier warning to start preparing for this test.

Gabby: I learned most of the content that’s gonna be on this test, virtually, and it’s scary knowing that this test is necessary in order to graduate.