New Jersey’s public school students showed considerable improvement in both mathematics and English language arts in the third administration of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments, according to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE.)

Assessment data from school districts and charter schools showed that from the first to the third year of PARCC testing, more than 88,000 more students met or exceeded expectations across all grade levels in English language arts. In addition, nearly 70,000 more students met or exceeded expectations across all grade levels in math, according to NJDOE.

Meeting or exceeding expectations on the assessments is one indication of whether or not a student is on pace to be college- and career-ready.

In addition to highlighting academic improvement, the results offer information to educators and families about how to best support individual students, and they provide an objective look at how all students are progressing in a particular grade or subject.

While most districts showed significant overall growth, some showed even greater gains across multiple grade levels. For example, Beverly City in Burlington County achieved noteworthy gains by effectively implementing New Jersey’s challenging standards; utilizing statewide assessments to understand what their students need to meet grade- and subject-level expectations; and continuously improving curricula, instruction, and student supports, according to NJDOE.

State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington said districts, students, families, educators and school leaders overall should be applauded for the achievement. And, she announced creation of a new “Lighthouse Districts” program to involve those that stand out.

“Moving forward, the state will be looking to learn from and share best practices from districts such as Beverly City, Lodi, and all districts where educators and students are seeing substantial gains,” Harrington said. “To that end, we are excited to announce a new ‘Lighthouse Districts’ initiative to recognize the outstanding efforts and achievements of districts that are truly lighting the path to success for all students.”

Lighthouse Districts will be recognized for achievement in advancing student growth, and will be provided with leadership opportunities to share strategies with other school districts. State leaders intend to develop this initiative in partnership with teachers and stakeholders in coming weeks, according to NJDOE.

District- and school-level 2017 PARCC outcomes are available on the NJDOE website.