A Learning Environment: 2019 Public High School Report Card

A Learning Environment: 2019 Public High School Report Card

Now that school is in session and students are once again roaming the halls, it’s time to get the first big assignment out of the way: our annual public high school report card.

We gleaned information from the New Jersey Department of Education School Performance Reports for schools in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties to present key data in areas like average SAT scores, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio and more. In addition, we spoke to several local school leaders and other education officials to get their take on the growing trend of districts eliminating class ranks and what it could mean for the future of South Jersey secondary education.

School Name | Average Sat Score
Moorestown High School 1223
Haddonfield Memorial High School 1214
Cherry Hill High School East 1191
Eastern High School 1175
Shawnee High School 1157
Lenape High School  1154
Clearview Regional High School 1151
Cinnaminson High School 1145
Florence Township Memorial High School 1144
Cherokee High School 1137
Northern Burlington County Regional High School 1133
Seneca High School 1122
Haddon Township High School 1119
Kingsway Regional High School 1113
Delran High School 1096
Palmyra High School 1096
Washington Township High School  1094
Pitman High School 1094
Bordentown Regional High School  1086
Cherry Hill High School West 1085
Audubon Junior/Senior High School 1082
Rancocas Valley Regional High School 1081
Burlington Township High School 1081
West Deptford High School 1070
Delsea Regional High School 1067
Gateway Regional High School 1058
Sterling High School 1056
Deptford Township High School 1055
Glassboro High School | ­1053
Williamstown High School 1051
Triton High School 1050
Haddon Heights Junior/Senior High School 1049
Maple Shade High School 1046
Collingswood Senior High School 1032
Woodbury Junior/Senior High School 1023
Clayton High School 1021
Timber Creek High School 1019
Pemberton Township High School  1016
Highland Regional High School 1005
Burlington City High School 1000
Riverside High School  998
Winslow Township High School 996
Overbrook High School  994
Pennsauken High School 945
Paulsboro High School 937
Lindenwold High School 914
Willingboro High School  896
Camden High School  784
Woodrow Wilson High School 757
 
School Name | Graduation Rate %
Haddonfield Memorial High School 99
Cherry Hill High School East 98
Kingsway Regional High School 98
Moorestown High School 98
Cinnaminson High School 97
Haddon Township High School 97
Seneca High School 97
Shawnee High School 97
Bordentown Regional High School 96
Cherokee High School 96
Northern Burlington County Regional High School 96
Washington Township High School 96
Clearview Regional High School 95
Delran High School 95
Lenape High School  95
Pemberton Township High School  95
Pitman High School 95
West Deptford High School 95
Audubon Junior/Senior High School 94
Burlington Township High School 94
Eastern High School 94
Glassboro High School 94
Sterling High School 94
Delsea Regional High School 93
Gateway Regional High School 93
Palmyra High School 93
Cherry Hill High School West 92
Florence Township Memorial High School  92
Haddon Heights Junior/Senior High School 92
Rancocas Valley Regional High School  92
Triton High School 92
Williamstown High School  92
Overbrook High School 91
Burlington City High School 90
Willingboro High School 89
Timber Creek High School 88
Clayton High School 87
Deptford Township High School 86
Highland Regional High School 86
Riverside High School 86
Maple Shade High School 85
Collingswood Senior High School 83
Pennsauken High School 81
Woodbury Junior/Senior High School 81
Winslow Township High School 80
Paulsboro High School 79
Lindenwold High School 77
Camden High School  62
Woodrow Wilson High School 61

Article continues below

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TJ Eckardt 5/19 728x90


A Smart Decision?
Following a rapidly growing national trend, local school districts are considering eliminating class rank.


By Peter Proko
 
It has been said that high school is the best four years of your life. Yet for some, the rigors of academia and the dedicated push to become head of the class can cause undue pressure and stress that too often can have a negative effect. Which is why a national trend could soon be gaining steam locally—the elimination of class ranks.
 
Reportedly as many as half the schools in the country have decided to repeal class ranks, thus no longer naming valedictorians and salutatorians, and districts in South Jersey have begun to take notice. Down the Shore, Ocean City High School’s Class of 2019 was its first to graduate without class rankings and Mainland Regional in Linwood has not used the criteria since 2016. Lower Cape May Regional and Greater Egg Harbor Regional are following suit and in Cumberland County, Vineland High School will do away with the system starting with the Class of 2020.
 
So, why are administrators and districts having a sudden change of heart? According to Janet Bamford of the New Jersey School Boards Association, there are several reasons to consider.
 
“In some cases, there may be so little difference between student grade point averages, especially among high-achieving students, that it can be statistically insignificant,” says Bamford. “Other schools have cited the fact that class rank may discourage students from taking electives they may be interested in because the courses are not weighted as heavily as, say, an advanced placement or honors course. High school is seen as a time when students can explore new interests and try to develop talents in different areas, and schools don’t want to discourage that.”
 
Another factor is that many colleges are no longer considering class ranks during the admissions process. Rutgers University in New Brunswick is one such school.
 
“Applicants may choose to disclose ranking information to us, but this information is not used in the Rutgers admissions evaluation process, nor are students who choose not to share their ranking disadvantaged,” a university spokesperson tells South Jersey Magazine.
 
Instead, Rutgers relies on other universal measures of academic performance that are widely available in order to better assess student achievement. This includes individual grades, overall GPA, as well as the extent to which students have challenged themselves in the context of curricula that are available to them.
 
Robert Heinrich, chief enrollment management officer at Stockton University, offers similar sentiments. “We recognize that test scores, or class rank, are not the only or best predictor of academic success. The best predictor is the strength and quality of their high school record. Did they take challenging courses? How well did they perform? What are their other interests?” Heinrich says.
 
In the tri-county region, some districts appear ready to have the conversation. The Lenape Regional High School District is considering the move to eliminate class ranks as part of their strategic planning process. After meeting with students, parents and staff from all four of the district’s high schools to discuss areas in which to improve, the subject of class ranks was a hot topic.
 
“Some of the feedback we received is that class rank could create an overly competitive atmosphere that could cause anxiety,” says Matthew Webb, assistant superintendent.
 
A proposal to eliminate class rank will be reviewed by the Lenape Regional Board of Education this month, but Webb cautions if the measure is indeed approved that it would not affect any current students and begin instead with the Class of 2024.
 
Over in Haddonfield, Superintendent Lawrence Mussoline has overseen the district for two decades and believes some semblance of change is inevitable.
 
“The elimination of the valedictorian and salutatorian systems of recognition is something that I am interested in presenting to the Haddonfield Board of Education for consideration,” he says. “Class rank is arguably the fourth most important criteria colleges look for in the admissions process behind strength of academic course schedule, the strength of the overall school’s curriculum and scores you receive on the SAT/ACT test. … I have known many valedictorians who haven’t gotten into any of the top schools they applied for. So how did class rank help them?”
 
Mussoline stops short of completely doing away with class rank; his goal is to devalue it and move to a more collegiate system of student recognition where a designated amount of students are recognized as Summa Cum Laude, Magma Cum Laude or Cum Laude.
 
The Clearview Regional High School District won’t be making any changes this school year, but it is also carefully considering a potential change and will be convening a class rank ad hoc committee to weigh the pros and cons.
 
“Our game plan would be to survey staff, parents and students and focus on investigating what’s happened in other academic settings and examine the impact it has had,” says Superintendent John Horchak.
 
While other districts haven’t fully committed to the elimination of class rank, some, like Washington Township, have already tweaked their approach to graduation. At Washington Township High School, the top performing students are asked to submit speeches which are reviewed and the best two are chosen to speak at the commencement ceremony.
 
As the tide shifts, Mussoline is confident that the trend is not any major cause for alarm. “The top students will always stand out. They always have and always will,” he says. 

To read the digital edition of South Jersey Magazine, click here.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 16, Issue 6 (September 2019).

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Author: Peter Proko

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