EDISON - Several New Jersey school systems have recently adopted lower passing grade standards as a way to increase graduation rates, but some argue that lowering the requirements results in less proficient students who are less prepared for life after high school.

Clifton High School recently lowered the grade needed to pass a class from 70 to 65. Bayonne schools did the same thing recently as part of a three-year pilot program. Lakeland Regional High School has also lowered graduation standards, shaving five credits off of its graduation requirement.

District administrators say the move makes schools more competitive with others statewide. They also argue that the lower grades encourage students who may have otherwise become discouraged and drop out.