| Things to think about
school tests cover basic skills, but not such crucial attributes
as the ability to work with others, the wisdom to make responsible
choices for our future and our environment, or the desire to work hard.
Some studies have shown that the value
of education, literacy, and other attributes measured by test scores are more important to our economy than the
value of the machines, assembly lines, and financial capital
used by our businesses.
the Technical Appendix for a change in the description of this
indicator since the 1999 Sustainable State Project Report.
trying to get through a day - or a career - without knowing
how to read well. Imagine trying to buy a house and secure a
mortgage without knowing basic mathematics. A large number of
us in New Jersey face these difficulties. As with many issues
in our state, there is a large but diminishing gap among those
of us from different races.
depend on capable workers who know their basic skills, including
reading, writing, and math. If our school system fails to instill
such proficiency, industry suffers and incomes decline.
of us with the benefit of an effective high school education
are better able to create opportunities to protect and enhance
Those of us
who do not learn to read and write well at an early age are
disadvantaged the rest of our lives. This disadvantage is the
root of other social disadvantages, such as unequal life expectancies,
unequal wages, and high unemployment. Unequal test results are
a good proxy for these other important issues.
In the past 20 years during which New Jersey
has conducted standardized testing, no one test has been given
consistently to public school students in our state, making
comparisons of results difficult. The state recently implemented
testing of "Core Curriculum Content Standards," beginning with
the fourth and eighth grades. Once the data from the new standards
are collected regularly, they will provide information needed
to make year-to-year comparisons.
NJ Department of Education