|11-8-13 NJ Schools Stand Out in Nation's Report Card|
Star Ledger - New Jersey's students among the best in nation, according to 2013 report card…New Jersey students are among the best in the country, according to results from the NAEP, or Nation's Report Card
Star Ledger - New Jersey students among the best in nation, according to 2013 report card…New Jersey students are among the best in the country, according to results from the NAEP, or Nation's Report Card
By Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
The state’s eighth-graders tied for first in reading and second in mathematics, while fourth-graders tied for second in reading and fourth in mathematics, according to test results released yesterday.
But the state also had some of the largest gaps between subgroups based on race and income.
And while better than the national average, the percentage of students who scored proficient or better ranged from 42 percent to 49 percent.
Known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the NAEP tests in reading and mathematics are given every two years. The same tests are given across the nation, allowing the results to be measured across states and regions.
“Today’s NAEP results show what we’ve seen time and again over the years: that New Jersey, as a whole, continues to substantially outperform most other states,” state Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said. “To that end, we celebrate the teachers, support staff and school leaders who have helped make our education system one of the best in the nation.”
The average math score for fourth-grade students in New Jersey was 247, six points above the national average, while their reading scores were 229, eight points higher than the national average. New Jersey eighth-graders averaged 276 in reading and 296 in math, 10 and 12 points higher than the national averages, respectively.
Still, it’s not all good news. Only 46 percent of the state’s eighth-graders scored proficient or better for reading, with 49 percent hitting that mark for math. In fourth grade, just 42 percent scored proficient or better in math, with 49 percent measured proficient or better in reading. The NAEP defines proficient as “solid academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter.”
The tests were given to 376,000 fourth-graders and 341,000 eighth-graders this year. The exams are scored from 0 to 500 and are the only national metric for student performance.
Gaps in achievement between economic and racial subgroups persist. Nationally, only Florida narrowed the gap between black and white students at both grade levels and in both subjects. New Jersey and Rhode Island were the only states to narrow the gap between white and Hispanic students at both grade levels of the mathematics test.
In New Jersey, black students taking the eighth-grade math test averaged 29 points lower than white students, while the average score for Hispanics was 20 points lower than the average for white students. On the fourth-grade reading test, the state’s black students’ average score was 26 points lower than white students, and the average score for Hispanics was 26 points lower than whites.
“While we celebrate the success of so many of our schools and we work to free them of unnecessary state regulations and bureaucracy, we must also continue to strengthen those schools that are struggling, so all students in all corners of New Jersey can receive a world-class education,” Cerf said.
Old Bridge Superintendent David Cittadino said educators are more focused on improving the gaps between subgroups than they were in the past.
“We have a saying here, the largest room in any organization is the room for improvement. We can be proud of our rankings, but it doesn’t erase the gaps that exist in sub groups,” he said. “We have the responsibility to educate every child. We have made gains, but we still have work ahead of us.”
Garden State Coalition of Schools