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More Confusion as New Jersey Changes High School Graduation Rules AGAIN!


On September 8, 2021, the NJ State Board of Education adopted new graduation rules. Save Our Schools NJ opposed these rules and has urged Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature to end exit testing in high school for diplomas as most states have done. For now, students and families need to know what the new rules are.

This year, state testing will resume and the graduation testing requirement is in effect. Students must satisfy this requirement to get a diploma.

For Class of 2022, current high school seniors, the graduation exit test requirement is in effect. They are the last class covered by the agreement that came out of a successful court challenge to the previous rules. Seniors can still use all of the alternative test choices or portfolio to graduate without having to take the state test (NJSLA) first. Here are the many ways students can meet the requirements.

Please note that many of the tests were suspended for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Seniors should check with their guidance counselor to be sure they have met the graduation requirement! If they have not, make sure there is a plan in place for them to do so. Do not wait until Spring to do this.

Parents and advocates should ask their district or high school administration:

  • How many seniors still need to satisfy the graduation testing requirement?
  • What is the district/school doing to help them?

High school counselors can help seniors who still need to pass an assessment to graduate by doing the following:

1.     Register seniors for any of these available options

2.     Have seniors take an available state test this fall

3.     Take an approved alternative test on this list

4.     Complete a portfolio assessment

Juniors in the class of 2023—and the classes coming after them—now have a separate set of new graduation rules.

Juniors must take a new 11th grade graduation test in ELA and Math in March 2022. This test is separate and different from the federally required annual state test, NJSLA. Students may not opt out of this test new test.

Students will get back scores in late Spring 2022. If they do not pass both parts of the new test, they must retake the part they did not pass; OR they can take and pass an alternative test; OR they may complete the portfolio assessment.

Students can only use the alternative tests or the portfolio after they sit for the new state test. ANYONE WHO OPTS OUT OF THE NEW 11TH GRADE TEST WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GRADUATE.

Special education students and parents: IEPs for special ed students should clearly specify what a student must do to graduate upon entering 9th grade. If your student does not have this specified, request an IEP meeting immediately. If alternative requirements are not spelled out in the IEP, the regular testing rules will apply.

Please support SOSNJ

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