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FRHSD Exceeds State Average for HSPA Scores

The state's new accountability system is changing HSPA requirements for the future.

Freehold Regional High School District  Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole Hazel presented the annual Testing and Assessment Report at last week’s Board of Education meeting. The report overviewed the 2012 High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) scores and provided an outline of New Jersey’s new accountability system.

The HSPA is a 3-day test in Mathematics and Language Arts; eleventh graders take the test for the first time in March. If the students are not pleased with their scores they have the opportunity to take the test again in October and March of their senior year.

School districts were required to have a 100 percent proficiency rate by the year 2014 under the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act. The Obama administration allowed states to apply for a flexibility waiver under the Elementary Secondary Education Act. This now gives districts a six-year time span in order to achieve proper targets, Hazel explained. Therefore, the district must close the achievement gap for the partially proficient students by 50 percent within a six-year time frame.

The annual progress targets are set in six equal increments, which started with base-line data from the 2010-2011 school year and goes through the 2016-2017 school year, according to Hazel.

In addition to the state department's application of new conditions of their updated formula and accountability system, separate progress targets for each of the subgroups have also been identified within each school.

The subgroup categories are as follows:

  • White
  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • American Indian
  • Asian
  • Two or more Races
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Limited English Proficiency (students within the English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at Colts Neck High School)
  • Economically Disadvantaged
  • All Students

There must be at least 30 students within each category for their scores to be counted within that subgroup.

The state requires that all schools and subgroups meet, or exceed, the state proficiency rate of 90 percent or meet, or exceed, the individual performance target for each school.

Districts are categorized into district factor groups (DFG) by wealth, with "A" being the poorest communities in New Jersey and "J" being the wealthiest. The Freehold Regional High School District is categorized as DFG "GH".

State test scores are grouped by district factor groups and districts are pulled into that district factor group, Superintendent Charles Sampson explained. Next year, the state has decided to categorize and rank school systems differently by focusing on the demographics within each school building. Therefore, each school within the Freehold Regional district may be categorized into different groups with other schools in the state.

The FRHSD district as a whole exceeded the state average and the average for their DFG in the 2011-2012 HSPA.

During the March 2012 HSPA administration:

  • 97.7 percent of FRHSD students passed the Language Arts Literacy portion (95.5 percent of students passed within DFG GH and 91.5 percent of students passed within the state of New Jersey)
  • 90 percent of FRHSD students passed the Mathematics portion (87 percent of students passed within DFG GH and 79.3 percent of students passed within the state of New Jersey)


Percentage Passed 2011-2012 HSPA

 

SCHOOLS LANGUAGE ARTS MATHEMATICS Colts Neck 97.6 94.5 Freehold 95.7 92 Freehold Township 97.1 92.4 Howell 99.6 94.2 Manalapan 98.1 96.3 Marlboro 99.4 95.9



“We are very, very pleased with the performance in our schools,” Hazel said. “We really feel like we’re on the right track we’re actually down to handfuls of students that we are working with going through their individual school reports and targeting their assistance so that they can meet the High School Proficiency Assessment with success.”

cynicinmarlboro December 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Let me see if I understand this. Mr. Sampson was given a target to meet for his performance bonus of a 3% increase for certain subgroups (we have no idea, based on this article, how well these subgroups did as there is only an aggregate given). Instead of making this a more difficult task, Sampson is going to have the DFGs changed for certain schools rather than taking the district as a whole (we all contribute to it) so that the requirements will be lowered, making this performance bonus somewhat easier to achieve. Nice move. And the board didn't question this?
Katrina Rossos (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Next year, the State is requiring that each school be looked at individually, so based on certain factors the schools within the FRHSD may wind up in different district factor groups. The Superintendent has no control over how that happens, or the fact that it is going to happen, it is mandated by the state. -Katrina
John Tyler December 17, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I have heard that the Special Ed students are not give these tests, I guess they do not want to take a chance and lower the scores????
cynicinmarlboro December 17, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thank you for the explanation of the mandate, but it does not change my thinking about Mr. Sampson's performance bonus metrics. Changing the DFG of a couple of schools will change the HSPAA scores required to be made and the 3% increase will be achieved without doing anything. THAT does NOT earn a bonus in my book. Perhaps Mr. Sampson knew this mandate going in and thought this would be an easy way to earn his bonus. If anything, the performance metrics should be emended to include either a 3% increase in ALL schools rather than the district as a whole or this should be removed this year so that a new metric for NEXT year can be discussed after the change and the resultant scores this year,
John Tyler December 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Katrina look into how many Special Ed student are given this test.
Katrina Rossos (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Special Education students are given the test and they have separate performance targets to meet. The district must achieve certain performance targets within six years for students with disabilities, as well. And the Students with Disabilities subcategory is included in the All Students category.
Curious George December 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The complex details of this situation indicate that the merit goal system should be removed from a sup'ts. contract because it opens the door for too much doubt and controversey. As some of the speakers said at the board meeting, this is a giant loop hole that should be closed. It allows a compliant board to rubber stamp anything the sup't. asks for without question and the public is kept in the dark until it's too late. If the sup't. has some good ideas to improve the district, they should be part of his job description. He should attempt to enact them and if they work, then they could be part of the considerations for renewing his contract. Too many of the board members have a six degree of separation to the system, either with children in the schools or family members working in the district. All of them can benefit from maintaining good will with the sup't. and as we can see, will never vote against him.
cynicinmarlboro December 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Interesting how the "official" video of the meeting on the FRHSD web site indicates it doesn't exist. Does anyone know if it was ever there? The last time they attributed the missing video to technical problems, but it also occurred under some other controversy if my memory serves me correctly.
Curious George December 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
It was on the district web site. This is a very interesting situation. Maybe it was taken down so that Mr. Sampson can say that for his next year's merit pay task he will form a committee to look into how the district can be more transparent and prevent the videos from suddenly becoming unavailable.

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