For years, people have been able to see student absence rates on New Jersey’s school report cards. Now it’s the teachers’ turn.
Although the absence data contained on the state Department of Education’s School Performance Reports is reported differently for students and teachers, it appears that staff attendance should get an A grade, for the most part.
This was the first time that the DOE reported faculty attendance — the percentage of days that the staff attended school — on the report cards, which were released earlier this week. The state did not report an average. Some of the data, which is self-reported by school officials, appears to be inaccurate: for instance, all the Newark schools reported a 0 percent faculty attendance rate. The median, or midpoint, of the numbers that appear valid was 97 percent for the past school year.
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Excluding some 100 schools that appear to have incorrect data, faculty attendance rates ranged from 54 percent at the Marian E. McKeown Elementary School in Hampton in Sussex County to perfect attendance at 63 schools throughout the state. Fewer than 2 percent of more than 2,200 schools in the state had rates of less than 90 percent.
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The chronic absence rates ranged from a fraction of a percent in 29 schools, with the lowest being at Belleville High School and the Lincoln Middle and Martin Luther King Jr. schools in the city of Passaic to nearly 75 percent at the Barack Obama Academy for Academic and Civic Development in Plainfield. The median rate of chronic absenteeism in the state was 7 percent.
Five schools reported no student absences in 2015-2016, while in 27 schools, no student had perfect attendance. At the other end of the spectrum, 46 schools reported no students had 15 or more absences, while at 21 schools, at least half the students were absent that often. According to the medians for the state, roughly 6 percent of students had perfect attendance and 9 percent were absent 15 or more days. Most students — 40 percent — were absent between one and five days, with 29 percent absent between six and 10 days.
To make it easier to see an individual school’s teacher and student absence data, move the map and zoom in. Use the control at the top of the map to switch between middle and high schools. All school data, including for elementary schools, is also in our searchable database.