New Jersey Department of Education

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Contact: Peter Peretzman
For Release: October 5, 1999

New Jersey Eleventh Graders to Take Annual Graduation Exam This Week

All New Jersey eleventh graders are taking the High School Proficiency test in reading, math and writing today October 5, Wednesday October 6, and Thursday October 7, 1999 respectively. In addition, all twelfth graders who have not yet passed the HSPT are taking the test.

New Jersey high school students must pass the HSPT in order to graduate, and they have four tries to do so--twice in their junior year and twice in their senior year. If a student is unable to take the HSPT this week, a makeup exam will be given on October 12, 13 and 14.

The class of 2000 will be the next to last graduating class taking the HSPT. A new tougher graduation test, the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) will be given for the first time in the 2001-2002 school year to juniors. The HSPA will be linked to New Jersey's rigorous academic standards. In the 2001-2002 school year, the HSPA will be administered in the areas of math and language arts literacy.

"I am looking forward to the first administration of the HSPA in two years," said Commissioner of Education David Hespe. "Over the course of the last three years, we have dramatically increased the expectations we hold for our children. Our new standards have raised the academic bar and will truly result in a higher level of achievement for all of the children in New Jersey.

"At one time the HSPT may have been a more difficult test than students were used to, but that is no longer the case. If we are to administer a true graduation test, that exam must measure the things that students need to know and be able to do when they graduate from high school. The new HSPA will be an important measure of those skills. "

Note: Sample HSPT Math and Reading questions are attached.