As predicted in light of controversy surrounding the state's newest graduation exam, the state Department of Education has received more than 10,000 portfolio appeals from high school seniors throughout the state.

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The portfolio process gives educators a chance to review a student's entire body of work, rather than their performance on standardized assessments, in order to determine graduation eligibility.

The state's education commissioner predicted in April that as many as 10,000 students would go the portfolio appeal route. It's a figure similar to the number of appeals received when the state switched exams five years ago.

According to a DOE spokesman, nearly every portfolio appeal of the 10,000-plus received has been processed and sent back to the individual school districts. Districts determine if the student meets the high school graduation requirement.

Prior to the introduction of the PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam, districts submitted portfolio appeals for about 2,000 students each year, the DOE said.

Under the current rules, if a student performed poorly on the PARCC, or skipped it altogether, a portfolio appeal is not the only other option towards a diploma. The student can still meet the graduation requirements with sufficient scores on other tests such as the SAT, ACT and ASVAB-AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test).

Proposed regulations would make the PARCC a graduation requirement and eliminate other test options for the Class of 2021, but the portfolio appeal would still be an available route.

"You go from PARCC to a portfolio review; that's it," said Susan Cauldwell, lead organizer for Save Our Schools New Jersey.

The group claims the PARCC is not measure of a student's college or career readiness, and, like all standardized tests, the PARCC does not improve educational outcomes.

"We would eventually like to see New Jersey do away with an exit exam altogether," Cauldwell said.

According to Cauldwell, a student should never be denied a diploma if they have the required credits, attendance and grade point average.

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