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Dorothy Philbin | CNBNews Contributor
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ--New Jersey 101.5 announced recently that the graduation exam will be made harder starting with this year's junior class.  Fear not.  Despite all the panic there is really nothing to worry about.  
The State Board of Education wants the passing grade to be set at 750 but the state Department of Education feels that score is too high and wants it lowered to 725, once again dumbing down our schools' standards.  Even state Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex said "725 is just way too low. It makes me cringe...725 for me I think takes New Jersey [sic], lowers our standards."  
Really, the difference in passing scores is much ado about nothing.  Granted, there might be individual students who will have problems meeting either score but the districts as a whole will not.   Why?  First, according to Michael Symons of NJ101.5 "It's not clear how many  more questions a student will have to get correct to pass, before the results are converted onto a scale of 650 to 850."  Board member Mary Beth Berry goes on to say "To say to kids, to say to parents, to say that 'partially meets expectations' is what we want for you is wrong."
Another reason not to fret is that the test is not the only way of proving readiness for graduation.  One of the other ways is a portfolio of the student's work.  However, in this case the student needs to keep track of what he/she has learned over the past three years.  Still, for those students who don't test well this is an alternative.