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While New Jersey educators are relying more & more on standardized tests to evaluate  students, a growing group of families here & across the country are opting to boycott the tests, in the belief they waste time & taxpayer money, don't measure students true skills & interfere with real learning.

Gov. Christie has made more objective staff evaluations a main feature of his education agenda; this fall, districts are supposed to roll out new performance reviews that call for 35 percent of some teachers’ ratings to be tied to the gains in their students’ test scores.

NJ Department of Education officials have stressed these new tools should make it easier to reward the best educators, help those who need help,get rid of the worst performers & improve instruction.

Thousands of parents nationwide have signed online petitions against these high-priority tests, saying they have narrowed the curriculum & led to mind-numbing test prep.

State code says students “shall” take state tests but does not specify penalties for those who disobey. One parent said her district warned her last year that it might file truancy charges if her children were absent repeatedly on test days, but none was filed.

There have apparently been few, if any,  punishments for students who refuse to take the tests. However, high school students must pass the Proficiency Assessment to graduate.

Do you think these tests are a waste of time? Do they discriminate against students with conditions such as ADD/ADHD & Aspergers? Or are these a valuable tool for students to get ahead & an accurate assessment of how well teachers are doing?