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Graduation Tests Return for High School Juniors Next Spring

After an 18-month hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, graduation exams are returning next spring for high school juniors.

The State Board of Education voted on Sept. 8 to restore the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment, computer-based exams that test the math and language arts skills of 11th graders as a prerequisite for graduation. The decision affects the Classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025.

High school juniors (Class of 2023) who fail the test next spring can retake the test in the summer or in the fall of their senior year. Under the regulations, students who fail the state test have the option to demonstrate proficiency by achieving a minimum “cut score” on state-approved substitute competency tests, such as the SAT or ACT, as an alternative pathway to high school graduation.

A third pathway for students who fail the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment in 11th grade is to submit a portfolio appeal in their senior year. All students must take the state’s graduation test at least once before they are allowed to use either of the alternate pathways for graduation.

Students who are already in their senior year (Class of 2022), who did take the graduation exam in their junior year because of the pandemic, will be able to meet graduation requirements by attaining minimum scores on alternative tests, such as the SAT or prior state exams (NJSLA/PARCC).

The State Department of Education’s website lists the complete menu of graduation competency exam options for the Class of 2022, as well as the menu of substitute test options that applies to the Classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 who fail the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment.