State Releases New School Performance Reports
Midland Park Schools are performing well above state averages, according to reports released by the state Department of Education this afternoon. The new NJ School Performance Reports, which replace the School Report Cards of the past, presents brand new data on college and career readiness and provide comparison to “peer schools” in user-friendly charts.
Highlights from the report include:
* Midland Park Junior-Senior High School outperforms 83% of schools in the state when it comes to college and career readiness and 70% of schools for both academic achievement and graduation post-secondary
* SAT scores are on the rise with 62% of students who participate scoring greater than 1,550 compared with 48% three years earlier.
* 98% of Midland Park High School students take the PSATs and 88% take the SATs.
* The percentages of students scoring proficient and advanced proficient on NJASK exams are on the rise in Language Arts and Math among most grade levels.
* 94% of Midland Park students graduate from high school, with 73% attending college 16-months after graduation.
"We are pleased the report indicates that the academic performance for both Godwin/Highland and the high school is high when compared to schools across the state," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marie Cirasella told Midland Park Press. "The college and career readiness factor is very high for MPHS when compared with schools statewide."
The report also highlighted a few areas of deficiencies, including high levels of "chronic absenteeism" and falling short of the state goal for percentage of students taking at least one AP test in a core subject.
Dr. Cirasella admitted the district is puzzled by the high level of absenteeism and plans to review internal attendance data. One explanation is that the rates are skewed due to inaccurate enrollment data, which the state pulled form an NJSMART submission that was later corrected. According to the SPR, enrollment dropped from over 600 in 2010-11 to less than 300 in 2011-12. Current enrollment is 591.
"As with any new reporting system, errors are sure to occur," she added. "However, we remain committed to working with NJDOE officials on this process and are grateful for the support and guidance they have provided to date."
The district is also reviewing the AP data, which was supplied to the state from the College Board. The district was recently honored with the distinction of making the College Board's annual AP District Honor Roll.
"We will be seeking more information regarding possible discrepancies and remain rightly proud of our high school being honored by the College Board for our Advanced Placement Program," Dr. Cirasella explained.
While Midland Park scored higher than state averages, the district lagged behind its new peer groupings, which are based on different demographic information than district factor groups (DFG) which had been used since 1975.
The new peer groupings use new demographic markers, including enrollment in free or reduced lunch programs, limited English proficiency or special education programs. By comparison, DFGs were based on median household income, percent of adults without a high school diploma, percent of adults with some college education, occupational status and unemployment rates.
"The peer school methodology being used for the first time this year builds on data that seeks to describe the students in the school as well as other factors such as the school’s grade span," Dr. Cirasella noted. "Our initial review has led to some questions with regard to the peer school groupings for both Highland and MPHS, especially with regard to incorrect data which may have impacted this process."
The elementary schools are grouped with schools in Ridgewood, Wyckoff, Montvale, Millburn, Montville, Rumsen, Mountain Lakes and Westfield, among others. The high school is grouped with Glen Rock, Ridgewood, Northern Highlands, Northern Valley, Indian Hills, Cedar Grove, Montville, Mountain Lakes and Rumson-Fair Haven among others.
The full reports are available at these links: