The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) recently released the state’s School Performance Reports for the 2015-2016 school year.

The new reports include more information on attendance for students and faculty; more data on high school college entrance examination performance; and other changes.

“The school performance reports are designed to inform and empower students, parents, and school communities, not only to celebrate areas of success, but also to highlight areas in need of improvement,” said Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, requires states to produce annual school performance reports. New Jersey’s School Performance Reports, in conjunction with federal accountability for schools under ESSA and state accountability for districts under the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC), contribute unique sets of indicators and/or requirements that define accountability for education in the state.

In a statement, the NJDOE said the reports reflect a more comprehensive view of student academic performance and experiences, as compared to the state’s other state and federal accountability systems. The changes to the 2015-2016 School Performance Reports this year are the start of a process to redesign the reports to be more user-friendly and informative for communities.

Changes to the School Performance Reports for the 2015-16 school year, based on feedback from educators, include:

  • Faculty Attendance – All reports now include a table that shows faculty attendance, which represents the percentage of days the school faculty members were present during the school year.
  • Chronic Absenteeism – A graph that shows chronic absenteeism, which is represented by the percentage of enrolled students each year who were chronically absent, is now included in high school reports.
  • PSAT and ACT Performance – High school reports now include PSAT and ACT participation and performance data, whereas previous reports only included SAT test data.
  • AP/IB tests – The count of all Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate tests taken in all subjects that met or exceeded the benchmark are now included in the high school reports.
  • Career and Technical Education – High school reports now include the percentage of students who are concentrating in approved career and technical education programs. Concentrators are students who have completed more than one course in a program.
  • Peer Schools Removed – The peer schools comparisons, which compared each school to a group of similar schools, have been removed.
  • User-Friendly Data – The reports are now on a web-based interface with improved navigation.

The School Performance Reports, interpretive guide and other supporting documents can be accessed online.

The NJDOE is also requesting public input to help shape the School Performance Reports for the 2016-2017 school year and beyond. Any interested members of the public wanting to provide their input can do so by completing the department’s survey.