The state of New Jersey requires students to take and pass a state test in fourth, eighth and 11th grades. Every year, students spend about a week taking state tests that, for many, are way too easy.

In particular, students in honors and Advanced Placement classes are being hurt by the valuable time taken out of their educations in order to prepare for and take these tests. Most people don't realize the amount of time the teachers spend preparing students to do well on these tests. Teachers are forced to eliminate critical parts of their curricula because of the week or so that is spent on administering the state test. Students could learn an entire new lesson during this valuable time. If a junior is in an honors or an AP class, he or she has the ability to take and easily pass the High School Proficiency Assessment.

It would make sense for all students to take a state test at least once, possibly in eighth grade. But if they pass and are excelling in honors and AP classes in high school, then it is a complete waste of time to make them take the HSPA junior year at the same time they are taking the SATs, ACTs and various placement tests for colleges as well.

The scores for the college-level tests could be shown to the high school and used to replace the HSPA. Any junior who chooses not to take the SATs or doesn't earn a predetermined acceptable score should then be required to take the HSPA as a senior in order to graduate. This would give the students who scored proficiently the extra time they need in class, especially the extra week the AP students need to pass their AP tests at the end of the year.

TRICIA STUMP

Stone Harbor