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New School Testing Underway [AUDIO]

Students in hundreds of schools across the state have been participating in a test run of the new assessment exam that should officially launch during the next school year.

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The PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which will replace the HSPA and NJASK, is a computer-based exam that can be applied to students K-12 on the subjects of mathematics and language arts.

Three weeks of testing completed on April 11, and another round began Monday. The scores do not count.

At a recent town hall meeting in Brick, Gov. Chris Christie indicated the new exam is meant to give educators a better read on how students are progressing and in which areas they are struggling. He noted his administration believes the HSPA was offering inflated results.

“When we saw enough of that inconsistency, we felt like it was time to change the test, to try to make it more challenging,” Christie said.

The PARCC is definitely harder in comparison, according to Brick Memorial High School student Sean Millea. His main concern, though, was the fact that the test is taken online.

“We used to have a paper and you could just flip a page. Now it’s, ‘Let’s hope that when I click, it’ll work,’” he said.

Network and computer issues could prove to be overwhelming if districts don’t prepare for the unique amount of traffic.

“Here’s what I think we shouldn’t argue about – that we must test,” added Christie. “We have to test, and we have to measure because if we don’t, we’re just taking things on faith.”

Christie said given the billions of dollars spent on education each year in New Jersey, there needs to be a way to learn whether or not the schools are being effective, and these exams are the way.

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