For many years, the majority of information about school district performance was published annually in the School Report Card. Historically this document was produced on an annual basis by the department of education and it reported a large variety of categorical/statistical information by school
and district. Included in the report were such items as: Attendance rates, Dropout rates, length of school day, standardized test scores by school and as compared to DFG and State etc.
In 2013 the State of NJ introduced significant changes to what was traditionally called the NJ School Report Card – producing the School Performance Reports. These reports differed in many ways from the School Report Card in terms of how information was presented, categorized, and analyzed. The
Department of Education believes that they are able to paint a more complete picture of school performance by setting statewide performance targets for areas such as college and career readiness, as well as progress targets for standardized testing in all subgroups within a student population.
Additionally, the reports include peer school comparisons where schools within the Wallington district are compared to schools with similar ELL populations, Special Needs populations, Grade Range, and Free and Reduced Lunch populations. Previously, schools in our district were compared only to
schools within the same district factor group. Finally it cannot be underscored enough that the State Department of Education has been clear in its message that these reports should NOT be utilized as any kind of ranking tool by districts or by outside publications (Ie. NJ Monthly). The reports are designed to measure areas of student outcomes and demographic and statistical information that does not paint a complete enough picture of any school or district. For example, these reports make no accommodation for the impact of:
Together, all of these changes represent a significant departure from the manner in which our district and schools’ outcomes were previously assessed. This presents us with valuable statistical information that will inform our programming, administration, budgeting, and goals as we move from year to year. Utilizing the concept of Focus, Benchmark, and Improve – it is expected that we will be able to address areas of concern and support areas of significant student growth as we move forward year to year.
Focus: Most of the School Performance Report areas focus their attention to metrics that are indicative of college and career readiness, such as absenteeism in early grades, successful completion of Algebra I prior to high school, participation in college readiness tests, and the taking of rigorous courses in high school.
Benchmark: By establishing Peer Schools as well as statewide percentiles, the School Performance Reports should enable us to set benchmarks for ourselves in all areas of student achievement. In this manner we will identify our strengths as well as our areas in need of improvement.
Improve: There are multiple indicators of college and career readiness within the School Performance Report as well as Student Growth Percentiles SGP that describe student growth in a variety of areas inclusive of standardized testing. These indicators must be utilized to guide us in continuous student and school/district improvement.