Increasingly tech savvy high school seniors are graduating with more math and science credits than ever before and it is benefiting them as they enter college. .
Approximately 93,000 high school seniors will graduate from Nw Jersey high schools this year, and they have had the opportunity to be academically advanced through increased access to courses in math, science, and technology since the state changed graduation requirements.
Education officials say the Class of 2014 is more tech-savvy and more proficient in science, technology, engineering and math — the STEM fields — because the state raised minimum graduation requirements to ensure they are prepared for college and careers.
“I think our graduation seniors are for the most part the best prepared kids in history,” Mount Olive Superintendent Larrie Reynolds said of the almost 400 high school seniors who will receive their diplomas next Thursday. “With their smartphones they can spout statistics like NASA scientists and quote Shakespeare like they’ve memorized it.
“It’s no wonder we’re seeing so many innovations and discoveries in recent years,” Reynolds said.
Edwin Reyes, principal of Technology High School in Newark, said the state’s effort to improve student understanding of the STEM fields is crucial to the future success of the students.
“They’re leaving school with the foundation they need,” Reyes said, adding that his school’s STEM requirements go beyond the state’s mandates. “If you look at everything in life, technology is something we need to understand.”
The New Jersey State Board of Education revised the graduation requirements in 2009 as part of a larger effort to better prepare students for 21st century careers. The state also adopted the Common Core State Standards for math and language arts. The Common Core standards promote critical thinking and problem-solving.
Officials said they took a measured approach, adding requirements over almost eight years to give students and administrators time to adapt.