Taking a Closer Look at New Jersey DOE School Performance Reports

NJTV News | April 12, 2017 | Education
NJ Spotlight education writer John Mooney explains what’s new and why it matters for the latest crop of school report cards

The state Department of Education has posted online the latest School Performance Reports for the 2015-2016 school year, and this time out they are loaded with even more information, such as ratings of student and teacher attendance. That includes a chart indicating chronic absenteeism.

To help make sense of the data, NJTV’s Brenda Flanagan spoke with John Mooney, education writer and founding editor of NJ Spotlight.

Mooney emphasizes that chronic absenteeism is a critical consideration.

“You talk to educators and they say that one of the biggest things that gets in the way is the kids aren’t there … if you think about it we’re talking a good month of the year potentially and that clearly is going to have an impact,” he said.

And what about whether teachers are in the classrooms when they should be?

The good news is that teacher attendance statewide is about 97 percent, an A+.

Mooney puts the issue in perspective:

“I’ve seen firsthand where kids are being taught by subs all year and that makes a huge difference,” he said. “These are not trained teachers and I think the value of it is it raises a red flag on schools that have a real problem.”

There’s also something new when it come high school test results, scores for both SATs and (for the first time this year) ACTs are included.

“As more and more kids and colleges get more and more competitive, everyone is taking as many tests as they can, so why not include them as well,” Mooney said.

Watch the full interview with NJ Spotlight CEO and education writer John Mooney.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner with NJ Spotlight.