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new jersey department of environmental protection  

 





Living with the Future in Mind
Goals and Indicators for New Jersey's Quality of Life
First Annual Update to the Sustainable State Project Report 2000

Indicator 15


Additional  Quality Education Indicators

13 - Graduation Rates

14 - Student/Teacher Ratio

16 - Higher Education

Standardized Test Scores

Percent of 11th grade students meeting the minimum high school proficiency mandated by the state: Little change

  Things to think about 

Public 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.

 

Note: See the Technical Appendix for a change in the description of this indicator since the 1999 Sustainable State Project Report.

Importance

Imagine 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.

Economic

Employers 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.

Environmental

Those of us with the benefit of an effective high school education are better able to create opportunities to protect and enhance our environment.

Social

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.

Knowledge Gaps

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.

Data Source: NJ Department of Education

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 27, 2007

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