Dr. penny MacCormackThe office of Montclair Superintendent, Dr. Penny MacCormack, has released the following press release addresses the recently released School Performance Report from the NJ Department of Education.

Of note is her finding that “reveals that free and reduced lunch data for as many as seven of Montclair’s 11 schools may have been under-reported, thereby skewing the critical determination of Montclair school’s “peer group” and the resultant “peer group” rankings.”:

Earlier this week, the New Jersey State Department of Education (NJDOE) released new School Performance Reports for last school year, 2011-2012.  Montclair Public Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack had mentioned in several previous Board of Education meetings that this new report was expected.  The report — which replaces the NJDOE’s annual School Report Card — provides data not only on academic achievement (progress targets for districts, schools and subgroups based on NJASK and HSPA performance), but now also on individual student growth (Student Growth Percentiles compare individual students to other students state-wide with similar achievement levels) and college/career readiness (including factors such as SAT scores, percentage of students chronically absent, percentage of students enrolled in AP classes, and more).  The academic achievement reporting now provides comparison to newly-defined “peer schools,” schools deemed similar based on several key factors, including percentage of students on free and reduced lunch; Limited English Proficiency (LEP) status; and receiving special education services.  Under the previous School Report Card format, districts had been grouped using the District Factor Group (DFG) calculation, which many districts reported as not accurately capturing the demographic differences present in their schools

Dr. MacCormack reports, however, that review of the data used to calculate the 2011-2012 Performance Report reveals that free and reduced lunch data for as many as seven of Montclair’s 11 schools may have been under-reported, thereby skewing the critical determination of Montclair school’s “peer group” and the resultant “peer group” rankings.  Dr. MacCormack is investigating how this miscalculation occurred and will elaborate at an upcoming Board of Education meeting how it impacted Montclair’s standing in the state’s 2011-2012 Performance Reports and measures that will be taken to prevent misreporting in the future.

It can also be noted, however, that data related to the achievement, student growth and college readiness, which do not depend on the “peer group” comparisons appear to be accurate, with some positive findings that Dr. MacCormack will also elaborate upon at an upcoming Board of Education meeting.

Despite the issues with the reporting for the 2011-2012 Performance Reports, Dr. MacCormack reiterated her conviction to work with the teachers, parents, community, and students to address the community-identified challenges by building on the strengths of our school system.

Additionally, the NJDOE published the 2013 Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending which details how tax dollars are spent in schools.

For more information:

  • For links to each Montclair Public School Performance Report as calculated by the NJDOE, https://education.state.nj.us/pr/– here you will fill in individual school name.

For additional information on Montclair Public School Performance Targets as discussed by Dr. MacCormack at the March 18, 2013 Board of Education meeting, click:  https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/Article.aspx?Id=892