New Jersey has a complex plan for how it will identify schools for improvement.
For each indicator, the state will show how the school performed compared with all the other schools in the state. It will calculate both overall and subgroup scores for each indicator, and then translate those into final school rankings.
New Jersey presents a statistically sound explanation for how it plans to calculate school scores, and it also presents a mock-up of what an individual school’s report card might look like. New Jersey deserves credit for its inclusion of subgroups in its summative rating determinations.
The entire system is focused on identifying the bottom performers in need of support. It ranks schools on a percentile scale rather than comparing them with an absolute standard. This could have implications for statewide buy-in and the extent to which all schools see the system as relevant to their work.
New Jersey still has work to do to help parents and educators understand how all of the interim targets and measures translate into the summative score.
For example, the charts used to explain the process and provide clarity may actually cause more confusion.