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Edison Insider

Students and teachers question benefits of state testing

Eighth+grader+Ava+Heuck+is+looking+at+the+NJSLA+practice+test+for+May.+
Photo by Erin Meade
Eighth grader Ava Heuck is looking at the NJSLA practice test for May.

Do you enjoy state testing? In New Jersey every student above third grade is required to take a test called New Jersey Student Learning Assignment (NJSLA). NJSLA is given to students in the month of May to see if they understand the material they had learned the past year. NJSLA started off as a way to test the knowledge of students, and track their progress. New Jersey then regulated these tests in 1996, and made them necessary for students to take. The test now informs parents when their child needs support in a certain subject like math or reading.

Teachers were asked if they noticed benefits in their students taking the NJSLA. 

Mr. Richard Mcnanna, a writing interventionist at Edison Intermediate School (EIS) stated, “If administered properly and evaluated fairly, these tests serve as a great academic snapshot in time. The test can provide meaningful feedback about student performance in school, but should not be the only measure of student achievement.” 

He explained that even though these tests aren’t graded, they provide many services to teachers to help measure students progress. The test can show how well students are learning and if it is necessary to change the curriculum.

Media Specialist Mr. Andrew Cusumano observed, “It is important to see where students stand. However, I don’t the test shows how students improved throughout the year though.” 

Mr. Cusumano feels that since students have the opportunity to take the test, it can be helpful to see how students progress when transitioning to new grade levels.

What do students think about the NJSLA assessment? Coming to middle school is already stressful for incoming sixth graders. and some students think the test just adds to the pressure. Fiona O’Conner explained, “State testing makes school harder because you have to study, and it is a lot to manage.”

Eighth grade student Fiona Brown mentioned,“It is pointless that we have to take this test.” 

Gavin Salerno stated, “It’s not too much of a stress because it doesn’t count as a grade, and after the test time is over, I can talk to my friends.”

Is it really necessary for New Jersey to have these tests when Nebraska doesn’t?  State testing clearly doesn’t have enough positive effects to carry the idea through to other states. Fiona also said, “It isn’t fair that we have to take the NJSLA, and Nebraska doesn’t.”

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Hannah Greenberg
Hannah is a writer for the Edison Insider. When she isn't in school, she really likes hanging out with her friends and family. During the summer, Hannah enjoys traveling to different countries and going to sleep away camp. Hannah has a twin sister named Maya. One of her favorite foods is pasta and pizza. 
Lily Schackert
Lily Schackert, Writer
Lily Shackert is a writer for the Edison Insider. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and watching movies. She considers volleyball one of her passions. She loves going on vacations during the summer. She rents a beach house every summer with family friends. One of her favorite foods is pasta. During the winter, she loves to go snowboarding with her dad.

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