HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Several township schools were ranked on the top half of a controversial rating system that educators say paints an incomplete picture of the state's 2,100 schools.
The new 2020 ratings, which rates schools on a 1-100 scale, were established to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.
Based on the reports, it appears that schools that finished with at least a 50 score could be considered average. Schools that finish in the top 20 percent are considered above average.
In Somerset County, Stony Brook School in Branchburg Township School District had the highest score in the county, getting a 97.03 followed by Bradley Gardens Primary School in Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District with a 96.55 score.
Roosevelt School in Manville School District had the lowest score in Somerset County with an 8.80.
Hillsborough Township schools received the following scores and overall rankings (out of 2,088 schools):
83. Woodfern Elementary School, 96.07
130. Sunnymead Elementary School, 93.87
131. Woods Road Elementary School, 93.81
339. Auten Road Intermediate School, 83.82
375. Amsterdam Elementary School, 82.09
443. Hillsborough High School, 78.87
539. Hillsborough Township Middle School, 74.24
641. Triangle Elementary School, 69.36
679. Hillsborough Township Elementary School, 67.52
The ratings for high schools have been based on graduation and absenteeism rates and standardized scores, while elementary and middle school scores are based on absenteeism, standardized test scores and student progress, according to the state Department of Education.
PARCC scores were factored into past scores. Now the test is named as the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA).
The ratings were also determined before the coronavirus outbreak and the shutting of school buildings in March. Many districts plan to begin the coming school year with remote instruction. Read more: NJ Coronavirus, Reopen Updates: Here's What You Need To Know
The New Jersey School Boards Association has said a single number or letter grade by itself "draws an incomplete picture of school performance and the quality of education provided to its students."
On the other hand, the New Jersey PTA president has said "parents now have more information than ever before."
"They have the tools to ask questions of their teachers and other stakeholders such as the superintendent, principal, and Board of Education," the PTA said.
— Additional reporting by Tom Davis
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