Freshmen and Juniors Brace for More Standardized Tests


By Robert Leszkowicz, Staff Writer

Standardized tests, a mixed feeling topic where you’re either in the testers seat or coming in late for school. When taking standardized tests, the morning is dreadful for the test takers as rules of not to speak, look around, or sleep are highly enforced for the duration of test taking. So as the school year reached the month of May the relief of no more tests satisfied the students of Wayne Hills… So they thought.

In May students of grades 5,8,and 11 will be partaking in tests “Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Year End (YE) Model: ELA, Math & Science” and “NJSLA-Science Administration” where they will be tested on various topics, most notably science. With the news of more testing, Juniors of Wayne Hills High School are very annoyed as they get ready for another early morning testing day. 

When asking Wayne Hills High School Assistant Principle Christina Ventimiglia about the continuation of testing, she replied, “The testing coming up the week of May 15th is ELA and Math for Grade 9 and Science testing for Grade 11. These tests have been in place for awhile (even though they were cancelled during the pandemic) but this is the first time we will be doing them in the same time frame. We chose to do this to create fewer testing interruptions. It does feel like there has been a lot of testing this year, but hopefully it gives us good insight into how our students are performing.”

The new standardized tests were scheduled to be taken spring of 2020 but were canceled after the coronavirus pandemic. The test then was moved to be a pilot test for students in the fall calling it “The Start Strong Test” to measure the academics of students but also have data to perform year to year comparisons. These tests however were not just liked by students but received heavy criticism from many education advocates. Education advocates questioned the need for the tests in the fall of 2022, citing additional stress on students, and the lateness of the results of the spring tests, which were not released publicly until December. The tests were also criticized for their uneven administration, with reports of students tested on a year’s worth of material they were only starting to learn.

To combat the criticism, In a memo, Jorden Schiff, the acting assistant commissioner division of teaching and learning services, said the Start Strong program provided “timely data to assist schools and districts in their decision-making process.” He said the amount spent on the tests, estimated at $5 million annually, would be transferred to the statewide volunteer tutoring effort, the New Jersey Partnership for Student Success (NJPSS). Julie Borst, the executive director of Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing, a nonprofit schools advocacy group, praised the decision to retire the test, stating “The state spent over $5 million on a useless test. That money would have been much better used directly for student support — like increasing the funding for the School-Based Youth Services Programs,” Borst said. “Hopefully, that funding goes to the training of tutors for the high-dose tutoring initiative.”

The tests were seen to be a one size fits all dynamic, which also put huge amounts of stress on students, making the mental health crisis worse. Although between the mass criticism and support, standardized testing will continue this school year, as the Juniors will partake in one May 15th.