- New Jersey has developed a statistically sophisticated accountability system built on rigorous college- and career-ready standards. It has set goals at multiple performance levels, and it will be holding schools accountable for a short list of high-quality indicators, including strong emphases on student achievement and growth.
- One of the most promising components of New Jersey’s plan is the weighting it puts on subgroups within the state accountability framework. By double-counting its student subgroups, New Jersey is attempting to ensure that schools prioritize the needs of all students.
- New Jersey also deserves credit for creating a multitiered system of supports to assist identified schools and districts, and for supporting schools to increase student participation in advanced math coursework, especially students who traditionally do not have access.
- The state was thoughtful in using data to recognize this opportunity gap and developing a plan to address it.
- New Jersey has done the hard work of creating strong college and career standards accompanied by long-term goals, but the state undercuts these objectives by hinging its accountability system entirely on percentile rankings rather than objective standards.
- In addition, it’s too early to say if New Jersey’s proposed school-identification formula accomplishes its goals. The state’s overarching emphasis on a school’s relative place compared with other schools may be effective at identifying the lowest-performing schools, but not necessarily as a means of driving improvements in academic achievement, particularly for low-performing schools that deserve clear expectations of what they need to do to exit improvement status. It may also present challenges to communicate to parents and educators and help them understand how their school performs and where it falls in the state’s ranking system.