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What is the Deal With the New Science Exam?


PARCC has come to a close, for most. Yet, word has come around about a new science exam for juniors. Rumors have been buzzing through the halls and an email has been sent out to parents about the newly designed exam for high schools across the state. In past years, a different state wide science exam has been administered to freshman to test biology skills that they have learned in their first year of high school.

It is now clear with an email from Dr. Gorman that the NJ Biology Competency Test is being replaced with a new assessment called the NJ Student Learning Assessment for Science. This test is solely given to juniors and tests knowledge in life, earth, and physical science. This two-day assessment will be taken online on May 30 and 31, just as AP tests finish up and juniors want to relax after an academically rigorous year. The test has the same computer platform as PARCC. The test is about two and a half hours long, and all students who are not taking the test start class at 10:15. Luckily for the other grades, a sleep-in is awarded to them, but juniors will trudge to school in order to determine their academic ability in the science field.

The state of New Jersey believes it is important to test our science ability, but what do some RHS students think about this newly introduced exam?

Since so many students opted out of the PARCC assessment, some are wondering if they can opt out of this test as well. Manon Mularz, a junior at RHS, says, “I really want to opt out because I don’t think it is necessary to take.” Talia Rosen, who is also a junior, describes, “I would really rather have a sleep-in than take the test since I could come to school around 10 instead.” Other students are confused about what the test is and the reason we have to take it; Caroline Aurigema questions, “why do only Juniors have to take it and what’s the point of it?”

Other juniors express their concern over this test, such as Grace Mclaughlin, who says, “I think this test is unnecessary because it is not essential for getting into college. We should not have to take it.” Additionally, junior Annie Probert questions why she would want to add to her stress and workload. She describes, “juniors have SAT, ACT, AP tests, and finals that are fast approaching, and I do not want another test to have to concern myself with. It is not fair that juniors have to take it because this year is already so stressful.” Tiffany Chung agrees in saying, “this test is more of a burden than something that is beneficial to the students. There are no positive attributes to taking this test.”

Although many juniors are upset about this exam, for the obvious reasons of simply sitting for another standardized test after preparing for SATs and ACTS, it is an excellent way to test the scientific knowledge of the eleventh graders. After three years of science courses, juniors will have the chance to prove their knowledge on biology, chemistry, and physics. For many RAHP students, a test such as this one is a beneficial way to better understand and review material needed later in the medical and science field. As this is the first year this test is being administered, New Jersey and the RHS community will just have to wait and see the effects of this new exam.

Danielle Poole
staff writer

Graphics: Ellie Tsapatsaris

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