Columbia HS Ranks High in Academic Performance, Lags in Graduation Rate

by The Village Green
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The academic performance of Columbia High School is high compared to high schools across the state, according to the new school performance reports released on January 30 by the New Jersey Department of Education. The reports look at data from the 2013-14 school year.

CHS ranks high compared to all schools across the state, and very high when compared to its other schools in its peer group. The school’s college and career readiness is high when compared with schools across the state and compared to its peers. However, Columbia’s graduation and post-secondary performance is low and lags in comparison to schools across the state and to its peer schools.

Schoolwide, 84% of CHS graduates enrolled in postsecondary school in the year 2013-14 — roughly 76% in a 4-year college and 23% in a 2-year college. Broken down by race, nearly 89% of white students enrolled in postsecondary school vs. just over 80% of black students.

Around 92% of white students and 63% of black students enrolled in a 4-year college.

See the full report for CHS here.

Both South Orange Middle School and Maplewood Middle School ranked average or above average in academic performance.

The district’s elementary schools all ranked either high or average in academic measures, with the exception of Clinton School, which lagged in comparison to other NJ schools and significantly lagged compared to peer schools.

At Clinton the academic performance of students schoolwide did not meet targets for language arts or math; at Seth Boyden the academic performance of students schoolwide failed to meet targets for math.

At several of the district’s schools, academic performance varied between white and black students. The academic performance of black students was below target levels in language arts at both middle schools as well as at Jefferson and Clinton Schools, while in math the performance of black students was below target levels at Maplewood Middle School as well as at Jefferson, Clinton and Seth Boyden schools.

South Orange Middle School, Maplewood Middle School and Clinton Elementary School are all identified as Focus Schools by the state DOE. According to the DOE website, focus schools comprise about 10% of schools statewide and receive targeted solutions to “meet the school’s unique needs.” Schools can be identified as focus schools for one of three reasons: overall lowest subgroup performance, a graduation rate below 75%, and widest gaps in achievement between different subgroups of students.

According to the performance reports, SOMS, MMS and Clinton are identified as focus schools because of high within-school gaps in achievement.

The NJ School Performance Reports identify the key indicators of academic success for every public school during the 2013-2014 school year. They help provide a complete picture of school performance beyond simple test scores by identifying a range of college and career ready metrics, beginning at the earliest grades.

The detailed information by school can be accessed online HERE.

The reports compare schools rather than whole districts. Each school is listed among a group of about 30 “peers” statewide that have roughly the same grade levels, as well as similar percentages of students who have special needs, speak limited English or are poor enough to qualify for subsidized lunch.

The reports include ACT test scores, visual and performing arts, and post-secondary enrollment. They also track participation in advanced placement courses at the high school, number of middle school students in Algebra I and their grades, and in all grades, chronic absenteeism.

Academic Achievement measures the content knowledge students have in language arts literacy and math.

College and Career Readiness measures the degree to which students are demonstrating behaviors that are indicative of future attendance and/or success in college and careers. (For all elementary schools and middle schools, this includes a measure of how many students are chronically absent, and in middle school, the number of students taking Algebra 1).

Student Growth measures the performance of students from one year to the next on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) in Language Arts Literacy and Math.

Graduation and Post-Secondary measures the rate at which students who begin high school four years earlier graduate within four years. Also included is a measure of the rate at which students in a particular school drop out of school.


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