A closer look at standardized testing


By Paula Lombillo, Staff Reporter

Standardized testing is a traditional way for every state to assess every student’s placement within the academic system that they’re provided. The State of New Jersey has adjusted the tests throughout the years and is currently giving students the NJSLA test. 

Today, the State of New Jersey is planning to get rid of standardized testing for the class of 2023. There are many mixed opinions among students, teachers, and administration in this choice. Assistant Principal of Passaic Preparatory Academy, Mrs. Lauricella, gave The Boulevard her insight on the matter. 


The Boulevard: How does NJSLA testing benefit students?

Mrs. Lauricella: We use the NJSLA scores for math and ELA to make decisions to help support our students.  Once the data is available, we share the information with the teachers and that way they can make better decisions to support the students currently enrolled in their classes.  Teachers can also use that information to support them on the next state assessment.  


TB: What’s your opinion on New Jersey getting rid of these tests?

SL: I think that we test kids way too much.  We receive the data too late and we could make better decisions to support students if we had the information earlier.  There are benefits to testing, but I think less time testing is needed. I don’t think testing is ever going to go away. I think there’s always going to be some form of standardized testing to see how kids across the state and across the country are ranking.


TB: Is the state going to do away with these standardized tests? What have you heard?

SL: About a year ago, I was in a meeting with the newly appointed Commissioner of Education.  He was not a fan of how long the PARCC testing took. So if you remember back to PARCC, it was three units of ELA and three units of math, that came out to be six days, then makeup testing, which is too much time. We now have the NJSLA which is very similar to PARCC, but they did cut it down to two units of math, two units of ELA. So instead of it being six days, it’s four days. 


TB: Will there be any problems if the NJSLA goes away?

SL: We have so many other tests that our high school students take. I think about the SATs, PSATs, as multiple ways to measure student knowledge. If it was completely taken away, there are still other tests that we can use to measure student success.


TB: What would be the alternative test that students would need to take?

SL: If NJ got rid of the NJSLA, I think they would find some other standardized test to give, maybe in a shorter amount of time. I don’t know exactly what that would be. But I think that there’s always going to be something in the state that they want to use to gauge students’ level of understanding in English and math. 


TB: What would be the graduation requirement for the Class of 2023 and onward?

SL: If the NJSLA was taken away, there are other state approved assessments that could satisfy the testing graduation requirement in ELA and math like the SATs, PSATs, ASVAB, Accuplacer.  The last option is the portfolio appeal process. If students don’t pass the standardized tests, there’s one last option that can be used for the state of NJ to determine if the student passes.


TB: As a vice principal, do you think that NJSLA and PARCC testing has impacted the students at this school positively or negatively?

SL: That’s a great question. You’ve stumped me. You want me to answer specifically this test? Yeah. What I appreciate about this test is the indicators that tell us about specific skills students score in. There about five different indicators in math and ELA to speak to how the student is doing. I think when used in the proper way, it does have a positive impact on students. 


TB: Should the state of New Jersey go back to any of its previous standardized tests? 

SL: I think that all tests have both positive and negative aspects to it.  Whatever NJ chooses, I hope the students are what drives the decision.


Thank you, Mrs. Lauricella!