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The Results Are In: State Releases 2013-2014 School Performance Reports

Student growth percentiles make it possible to see how kids are doing compared with peers across the state

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With the state’s release of School Performance Reports for every school in New Jersey in 2013-2014, the first look may be at overall scores for each school, but there are other ratings that should be examined as well.

Among the Christie administration’s newest gauges is the so-called student growth percentile (SGP), which examines how children in each school progressed on state tests compared to their peers across the state.

The aim is admirable: an emphasis on student growth, no matter where students started each year.

Check out how your school measured up.

Review your complete School Performance Reports. Schools that show a median SGP at the 50th percentile or better are considered successful. Those below the 40th percentile are at the other end of the scale. The range is from the high 70s for those showing the most progress to the mid-30s for the least.

The approach has its limits, but the basic idea is to compare the students in each school against students who started the year at the same academic level and see how they gained or not on the state tests in language arts and math.

A note of caution: The measurement only works for the state’s elementary and middle schools, since those are the only years at the moment that have two consecutive years of testing.

And the science of the SGP model is hardly embraced universally, with some questioning whether it accounts enough for socio-economic differences.

Nevertheless, list of the top schools for a combined SGP is as follows:

  • Luther Lee Elementary School (Demarest): 76th percentile in language arts, 81st percentile in math

  • Lillian Drive School (Hazlet): 79th percentile in language arts, 78th percentile in math

  • West Belmar Elementary School (Wall): 74th percentile in language arts, 82nd percentile in math

  • J. Spencer Smith School (Tenafly): 72nd percentile in language arts, 82nd percentile in math

  • Essex Fells Elementary School (Essex Fells): 73rd percentile in language arts, 80th percentile in math

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