The final number of students who failed to graduate is still not determined, officials conceded.
That’s from NJ Spotlight’s report today on a new template issued by the NJ Department of Education designed to identify and remediate students who most likely will fail both the traditional High School Proficiency Assessment and its fallback, the Alternative High School Assessment. Students are offered the AHSA after they fail the HSPA three times.
NJ’s published education rate was flagged by Race To The Top reviewers, who noted that “the state has been inflating [the graduation rate]” and “New Jersey acknowledges that its historical graduation rate data is unrealistically inflated and has plans to implement a new tracking system soon. Some available data shows low graduation rates for Hispanic and African-American students. There is no evidence that graduation rates have improved.”
How did we inflate those numbers? Through our old Secondary Review Assessment, which was impossible to fail. Last year the SRA was replaced by the AHSA and almost 10,000 students failed, though about 8,000 (what’s with the uncertainty?) of those students were able to pass through portfolios, appeals, teacher recommendations, and additional tutoring over the summer.
The NJEA’s website still touts our high school graduation rate as “the best in the nation: New Jersey ranks number one in the percentage of students graduating high school.” Maybe it’s time for an update.