New N.J. School Reports Released by State Education Department; Bring New Rankings, Data

April 10, 2013

TRENTON — New school performance reports released today by the state Department of Education place each school in a new "peer group" with 30 other schools with similar demographics.

The new performance reports, which parents and schools can access online beginning today, replace the old "school report card" and include traditional information such as test score data, school enrollment and length of school day.

But they also include calculations intended to show things such as each school's college and career readiness — measuring "the degree to which students are demonstrating behaviors that are indicative of future attendance and/or success in college and careers" — and their graduation and post-secondary performance.

Then, the reports give each school a percentile ranking among their "peers" in those areas.

The reports create some seeming contradictions. A high school may hit 100 percent of stated targets — but be placed in the 44th percentile among its peers in area such as "Graduation and Post Secondary."

The idea, according to the state, is to encourage all schools to improve.

"Every school in New Jersey has some area that needs improvement," the state said in a document prepared to explain the new reports. "The performance reports ... will assist every school in taking the next step for improvement."

The full state performance reports are available on the Department of Education website.