As springtime approaches, high-schoolers recall a familiar uneasiness in preparation for standardized tests. A sort of nostalgia surrounds the fifteen minutes per every few hours during which students are able to stretch, making up for the draining hours they spend hovering over a scantron sheet. Dating back to the 1930s, state testing was implemented in order to compare schools in America, and to evaluate a teacher’s performance throughout the school year.
This year’s assessment, just like last year’s, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, to the delight of RHS students. Anna Beiersdorf, a sophomore, says that she agrees with the cancellation, as “learning hasn’t been the same this year,” and she does “not think it would benefit [students] to have to take it, considering the current circumstances.”
While our high-schoolers are thrilled by this decision, is the NJSLA essential for Ridgewood?
Many residents, such as KB, a Ridgewood parent, explained that “the esteemed education is the reason my family moved to Ridgewood, and the reason we pay such steep taxes to live here.”
KB is not the only parent who feels this way. Residents of Ridgewood pay an average of $12,100 in school tax bills, a striking number in comparison to the $4,798 state average. Yet, most parents believe that the cost is worth the education, with Ridgewood being ranked tenth in the state. Students’ NJSLA test scores greatly contribute to the school’s prestigious ranking. KB continues by saying that “with the administration of these tests, I know how my child is performing in comparison to other kids in the country. This helps me better understand the subjects that my child is struggling in.” CH, another parent in Ridgewood explains that “it is important to not only see how a child performs in class, but also how they perform in comparison to others to make sure that teachers do whatever they can to prevent kids from falling behind.”
While teacher and student performance is a common concern among proponents of statewide testing, students disagree with the effectiveness of the test. Alex Shevchenko, a sophomore at RHS, says that “the test just measures how good a student is at taking a test” and believes that the NJSLA is “not a good measure of a student’s performance or a teacher’s performance throughout the year.”
Though opinions on the value of the exam vary, both students and parents are in consensus about safety precautions being Ridgewood’s prime concern.
Graphic: Isabella Harelick