The List: A Quick Look at the School Districts with the Best PARCC Scores
No surprise, perhaps, but the schools in more affluent communities tended to have the highest average student scores and passing rates
PARCC has proven controversial since before New Jersey adopted the multistate system of testing. Public school students from grades three through 11 take computer-based exams in language arts. They also face elementary and middle-school graded math tests and Algebra I and Algebra II and geometry in the years in which they take those classes. Currently PARCC is one test high school students can use to fulfill the state's graduation testing mandate. Eventually, PARCC will become a graduation requirement.
While the statewide results improved in the second year of testing, the number of students not passing remains too high. Fewer than half of all high schoolers passed their tests, with the lowest passing rate 25 percent on the Algebra II exam.
But the news was not all bad. Some districts, typically those in the DOE's J District Factor Group of communities with the highest socio-economic status, had relatively high average scores and large percentages of students passing, meaning they scored at levels 4 (meets expectations) and 5 (exceeds expectations).
These are the comprehensive K-12 school districts that had the highest average scores, which range from 650 to 850, on all 18 tests given in grades 3-11 last spring's examinations, as well as the average of their passing rates on all the tests:
1. Mountain Lakes
A wealthy district in Morris County that also enrolls high school students from neighboring Boonton Township, Mountain Lakes registered both the highest average score and highest average passing percentage. The mean of the students' average scores on all the tests was 774.2 and the passing rate was almost 81 percent, the only K-12 district with an average of more than 80 percent passing all tests.
2. Bernards Township
Another J district, this one in Somerset County, Bernards' students' scores averaged 768.9 on the tests and the mean passing percentage was 74.6 percent.
This Union County district is in the I DFG, the second highest socio-economic grouping. The mean of students' scores was 767.6 and the average passing rate was 72.4 percent.
Students in this J district in Essex County posted an average 766.9 of their scores and the mean passing rate was 73.1 percent.
A J district in Bergen County, Ridgewood's students scored just slightly lower than those in Millburn, with a mean 766.4 on its test scores, and the passing rate was 72.7 percent.
In the northwestern corner of Bergen, Mahwah is an I district. Students' mean score of 766.39 was just a fraction below that of Ridgewood and the average passing rate was 71 percent.
This is the second Somerset County J district on the list. The average of Montgomery's scores was 766.2 and the mean passing rate was 70.8 percent.
8. Glen Ridge
Another Essex County district, this one in the I DFG, the mean of Glen Ridge's scores was 765.7 and the district had a 71.4 percent average passing rate.
9. West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional
The only regional district on the list and the one located farthest south in New Jersey, West Windsor-Plainsboro is in Mercer County. Another J district, West Windsor-Plainsboro's average score tied with Glen Ridge at 765.7, but it had a lower mean passing rate, 70.1 percent.
The third Bergen district in the top 10, Tenafly's mean score was 765.6 and its average passing rate was 71.1 percent. Tenafly is in the I DFG.