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For Release: March 3, 2004
Commissioner Librera Announces Release of 2003 School
Commissioner of Education William L. Librera today announced the release
of the 2003 New Jersey School Report Cards. The School Report Cards contain
detailed statistical profiles of all public schools in the state. The
annual reports are prepared for the public to gauge school and student
"With the expenditure of $8.1 billion for education in New Jersey,
Governor McGreevey expects accountability for ensuring that education
dollars are going into our classrooms," Commissioner of Education
William L. Librera said. "Our mission remains to ensure that all
children can read by the end of third grade and to improve overall achievement
for every student."
"By law, we are required to produce the annual School Report Card,
so that parents and interested citizens can review the progress of their
local schools and evaluate whether the schools are providing their students
with a high-quality education in a cost-effective way," Commissioner
The 2003 New Jersey School Report Card is accessible here:
The 2003 version of the NJ School Report Card has been produced by department
staff in house for savings of more than a half a million dollars this,
after phasing out the vendor that had been producing the report card
since 1997. The format is more compact, quicker to access, and easier
to read. Most of the report card fields remain consistent with past reporting
with a few exceptions as follows:
- The information has been rearranged under five categories school
environment, student information, student performance indicators, staff
information, and district/charter financial information.
- Assessment results are shown as totals and also as disaggregated
by the same subgroups that are required by the No Child Left Behind
Act (NCLB). These subgroups were first introduced in the 2002 NCLB
Report released by the department last August. The conditions required
to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB have
not been applied to the assessment results for this School Report Card.
The assessment results that are reported in the nextNCLB Report
will reflect the application of those conditions.
- For average class size, the information is presented by grade level,
as well as in a total. There will be only one year of data shown, because
there is no grade-level information in prior report cards.
- The field for Highly Qualified Teacher information that was introduced
in the 2002 NCLB Report has been carried over to the February School
Report Card with the addition of 2002-03 data.
- Advanced Placement information has been reduced in scope. In the
past, much of the test information for AP courses was suppressed because
the classes tended to be small. To show what courses the districts
or charter schools offer, the names of the courses are listed along
with the number of students taking the course and the number of students
taking the test. There is a summary number of test scores that were
3 or higher for the school. The field that shows the percentage of
students in grades 11 and 12 (unduplicated) who took advanced placement
classes as compared with the state average is the same as prior report
- Dropout rates are disaggregated by the same subgroups as those introduced
in the 2002 NCLB Report.
- Graduation rate shows only one year of data because the 2003 calculation
has been done completely differently from prior years. Therefore,
comparisons with prior years are invalid. In accordance with New
Jerseys Accountability Workbook, approved by the U.S. Department
of Education (USDE), New Jersey is require to show that we are moving
toward a cohort model of calculating high school graduation rates.
In a cohort model, data is collected over four years, taking into consideration
students who drop out and student who move in and out. Because we do
not have in place the collection mechanism to produce the data that
will be required of districts in complying with this mandate, we have
USDEs permission to use an interim calculation this year based
on a model advocated by the National Center for Education Statistics.
This model estimates a graduation rate for the cohort of students
that began high school four years ago. The formula divides the number
of graduates, including the summer graduates following the school year,
by the sum of all graduates plus the number of dropouts for that cohort
through the four years of high school.
- In report cards for vocational schools, the NOCTI course and test
information has been simplified in a format similar to that of the
Advanced Placement field. There is a list of the current courses offered
and the test score averages for the school and state on written and
performance tests. NOCTI information is not shown for comprehensive
The reports released today are the ninth to be produced under a 1995
state law that standardizes much of the information and requires its
annual distribution. They also represent the 13th time New
Jersey has issued a report on its public schools, since the first report
cards were distributed in 1989. Report cards are produced for all elementary
and secondary schools, as well as vocational schools, special education
schools, charter schools, and Special Services School Districts.
Commissioner Librera expressed appreciation to local school district
personnel for their cooperation in supplying data for the statistical
profiles. For more information, please contact the Department of Education
Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.