Just days after The Star Ledger’s Inside New Jersey selected Scotch Plains Fanwood High School as one of the state's “Top Performing High Schools,” New Jersey Monthly Magazine places the school at #60, up just two notches from its 2010 ranking at #62.
Nearby New Providence High School claimed the top spot. So, just what contributed to its high marks?
“The school’s average class size is down sharply since the 2010 rankings, and its math scores in the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) have improved significantly. This at a time of state budget cuts and local belt-tightening,” according to the NJ Monthly Magazine article, featured in the September issue, which hits newstands on Aug. 28.
NJ Monthly mades changes to its methodology this year, including a new graduation-rate calculation, eliminating student/computer ratio as a factor and increasing the weighting for data on test results, according to the article announcing the top public high schools.
In addition to Scotch Plains-Fanwood and New Providence, several other area high schools were ranked as follows:
New Jersey Monthly Magazine Top Public High SchoolsName 2012 Ranking 2010 Ranking Summit 15 25 Jonathan Dayton 26 40 Governor Livingston 36 24 A.L. Johnson 40 101 Cranford 51 13 Scotch Plains 60 62 Chatham 20 8 Roselle Park 122 190 David Brearley 127 113 Elizabeth 148 294 Hillside 166
The categories and indicators used in the ranking, listed on NJ Monthly Magazine's web site, are as follows:
School Environment: The sum of the standardized rank scores for average class size; student/faculty ratio; percentage of faculty with advanced degrees; and number of AP tests offered, which was calculated as a ratio of grade 11 and 12 enrollment in order not to penalize smaller schools. (Senior class size is shown in the published charts for reference only; it is not part of the ranking calculation.)
Student Performance: The sum of the standardized rank scores for average combined SAT score; percentage of students showing advanced proficiency on HSPA; and students scoring a 3 or higher on AP tests as a percentage of all juniors and seniors.
Student Outcomes: A single score based on a new graduation-rate calculation (four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate) introduced by New Jersey in 2011, as mandated by the federal government. Essentially, the adjusted cohort formula divides a school’s number of four-year graduates by the number of first-time ninth-graders who entered the cohort four years earlier. For further information, visit state.nj.us/education/data/.
Vocational schools: Schools defined in this category by the state Department of Education were ranked using the same methodology as other public schools, but with two exceptions. No average class size is available for these schools, since many students are shared with mainstream schools. Similarly, there is insufficient data on AP tests.
Special Notes: Some schools were missing only AP-related data, particularly the number of students who scored a 3 or higher on AP tests. For these schools (which had fewer than 10 students who took an AP test) a value was imputed for purposes of the ranking using an average of other schools in their DFG. Also, for certain districts where there were obvious errors in the data (Midland Park, Elizabeth and Paterson), corrections were obtained directly from the districts.