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Parents often call or write the Department of Education asking which schools are the "best." We reply that the department does not rank schools. We hold schools accountable for teaching students the Core Curriculum Content Standards and for making sure they meet the various needs of all students. Parents need to be vigilant and involved to assess how their child's school is doing in regard to meeting student needs. Children who are motivated and supported at home often can excel in schools where high achievement is scarce. The department’s goal is to adopt policies and standards that raise the level of achievement for every student in New Jersey schools.

There are several tools that parents can use in a comparative way to measure a school’s yearly performance. One is the New Jersey School Report Card produced annually since 1995. Report cards are issued for every public school, including charter schools and vocational and special services school districts. The report card contains statistical, demographic, programmatic and local information to inform parents and other citizens about the progress of public schools throughout the state. Each school also is required to add a two-page narrative to the School Report Card to inform parents about exemplary programs and noteworthy achievements of that school. The school district may distribute the report card to parents, but all of the school data is accessible on DOE’s Web site.

As required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the department also issues a separate NCLB report for each school that includes state assessment results for NJ ASK 3 to 8 and the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). One measure of how well a school is doing is to look at past years’ scores to determine whether the scores show an upward trend.

http://education.state.nj.us/rc/  The NCLB report also indicates whether the school has made Adequate Yearly Progress, and, if not, how many years it has been a school in need of improvement.  The NCLB reports are published in both Spanish and English.

In addition, the department annually publishes the Comparative Spending Guide to give the public the ability to compare school spending in various categories among school districts of similar size and grade configuration. There is also assessment information in the State Assessment Summaries on the DOE Web site.

More information can be found in Assessment, Title I, and NCLB.