New Jersey has taken several steps to ensure all subgroups are receiving a high-quality education.
It will incorporate student subgroup performance directly into its school rating system, and each subgroup with 20 students will be double-counted toward the school’s overall rating. The state included a detailed analysis of how many students in each subgroup would be captured under this decision.
New Jersey will also identify schools for targeted support if they have any subgroup perform individually as low as the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide, and it will also identify any “consistently underperforming” subgroup. The state has not yet finalized its methodology for this last calculation, though.
Data would strengthen New Jersey’s plan and its impact on subgroups performance.
Given the way New Jersey is proposing to average its subgroups together, it’s possible that approach could adequately identify schools with low-performing subgroups, but it’s also possible that top-ranked schools could still be contributing toward large achievement gaps.
New Jersey should be credited for weighting English-language proficiency as 20 percent of schools’ ratings.
The state is also proposing to include former special education students in the students-with-disabilities subgroup for two years after they complete services. Since exiting students tend to have higher performance, the state should monitor its data to ensure it is not masking the performance of students who are still receiving services.