Good News

Good News about NJ's Public Schools

Updated January 2016

NAEP Assessments

Achievement Scores and Growth Are Among the Nation's Best

Looking at all grades and across subject areas for all students, New Jersey’s track record is second in the nation in performance and improvement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

New Jersey Leads the Nation in NAEP Scores Even When Demographics Are Taken Into Account

A study that adjusts NAEP Scores based on the percent of disadvantaged students in the public schools (New Jersey having fewer disadvantaged students than many other lowering performing states), still finds NJ with the 2nd highest average NAEP score of any state in the country.

Reading Scores Are Among the Nation's Best

Compared to New Jersey, only one other state in the nation has a statistically higher proportion of public school 4th graders scoring at the highest two levels in reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Furthermore, only one other state has an average score that is statistically higher than New Jersey on the 4th Grade Reading Exam.

Math Scores for New Jersey 4th Grade Students Are Among the Nation's Best

Compared to New Jersey, only two other states in the nation have a statistically higher proportion of public school 4th graders scoring at the highest two levels in math in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Only three other states have an average score that is statistically higher than New Jersey on the 4th Grade Mathematics Exam.

Math Scores for New Jersey 8th Grade Students Are Among the Nation's Best

Compared to New Jersey, only one other state in the nation has a statistically higher proportion of public school 8th graders scoring at the highest two levels in math in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Furthermore, only one other state has an average score that is statistically higher than New Jersey on the 8th Grade Mathematics Exam.

Math Scores for New Jersey 12th Grade Students Are Among the Nation's Best

No other states in the nation score statistically higher than New Jersey on the 12th Grade Math Exam. New Jersey public school seniors have the second highest score in the national in math on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

Math Scores Are Among the World's Best

In a comparison of New Jersey’s eighth grade NAEP math scores with eighth grade math scores in countries world-wide, New Jersey public school students out-performed all but five Asian countries.They out-performed students in Canadian Provinces and across Europe, including the highly rated Finland schools.

Math Scores Are Up

The proportion of New Jersey public school fourth graders who scored at the highest two levels in mathematics in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has nearly doubled since 1996. The proportion of eighth graders has doubled since 1996 to the highest level ever recorded in the state.

Writing Scores Are the Best in the Nation

New Jersey eighth graders rank #1—far above any other state in the nation—in writing in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Science Scores Are Among the World's Best

In a comparison of New Jersey’s eighth grade NAEP science scores with eighth grade science scores in countries world-wide, only students in three Asian countries score higher than New Jersey public school students.

Students’ Vocabulary Is Best in the Nation

No other state in the nation scores statistically higher than New Jersey in students’ ability to demonstrate their understanding of words as used in literary and informational texts on the 8th Grade Reading NAEP.

Good News Facts

High School Graduation Rate Is Among the Top in the Nation

Only 2 states have public school graduation rates higher than New Jersey’s

Among the Lowest Dropout Rates in the Nation

Only one other state has a lower dropout rate among public high school seniors than New Jersey.

Leading the Country in Education Policy and Performance

Education Week ranks New Jersey public schools among the top 2 in the nation.

Leading the Country in Education

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks New Jersey public schools among the top 2 in the nation.

Leading the Country in Giving Children the Chance to Succeed

New Jersey ranks among the top 3 states in Education Week's "Chance for Success Index," which measures a state's ability to give its children the greatest chance for success and shows that it is doing more in preparing young people for the challenges they will face as adults.

Leading the Country in School Achievement

New Jersey public schools rank among the top 2 in the nation in academic achievement..

Best in Nation in Giving Children Educational Opportunities

New Jersey ranks #1 in the “Education Dimension” of the latest Opportunity Index, which rates opportunities that children have based on where they were born.

Leading the Nation in School Attendance

New Jersey is among the top two states in the nation in the average daily attendance of its public school students.

Students Getting Good Grades

Ninety-two percent (92%) of New Jersey students taking the SATs have high school grade point averages of "B" or better.

More New Jersey Students Excelling in Math SATs

Many more New Jersey students than ever before are getting high scores on their SAT college entrance examinations. The number of New Jersey high school students scoring 600 or higher each year on the Math SAT has nearly doubled since 1994.

Public School Students Outperform Private School Students on AP Exams

In New Jersey, public school students score higher than private school students on their AP exam.

Public School Students Outperform Private School Students on AP Exams to Qualify for College Credit

New Jersey public high school students are more likely than private and religious school students to receive grades on AP exams high enough to qualify for college credit.

Best AP Scores in the Nation

New Jersey is nearly tied for first in the nation in the percentage of Advanced Placement (AP) exams taken by public high school students that result in scores high enough to qualify for college credit.
  • Source: College Board College Board. AP Cohort Data: Graduating Class of 2015. 2016

Highest AP Scores in the Nation

New Jersey is first in the nation in the average Advanced Placement (AP) score for public school students this year.

More Students Participating in AP Courses

The number of New Jersey public high school students taking and testing in an Advanced Placement (AP) course has double in the past dozen years.
  • Source: College Board. AP Cohort Data: Graduating Class of 2015. 2016.

More High School Students Scoring High Enough to Earn College Credit on AP Exams

The proportion of New Jersey public high school students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams has doubled in the past dozen years.
  • Source: College Board. AP Cohort Data: Graduating Class of 2015. 2016.

Many more Low-Income Students Scoring High Enough to Earn College Credit on AP Exams

The number of low-income New Jersey public high school students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) exams has increase more than seven-fold in the past dozen years.
  • Source: College Board. AP Cohort Data: Graduating Class of 2015. 2016

Big Increases in Low-Income Students Participating in AP Courses

The number of low-income New Jersey public high school students taking and testing in an Advanced Placement (AP) course has increased more than four-fold in the past dozen years.
  • Source: College Board. AP Cohort Data: Graduating Class of 2015. 2016. 

Leading the Nation in the Number of Children Attending Preschool

New Jersey is one of the top two states in the nation in the percentage of 3 and 4 year olds who are enrolled in preschool.

Among the Top in the Nation in the Number of Children Attending Public Preschool

New Jersey is among the top three states in the nation in the percentage of 3 year olds who are enrolled in public preschool.

Preschool Programs in New Jersey's City Schools Are Best in Nation

New Jersey's rigorous pre-school program for 3 and 4 year olds in its largest cities is held up as the early education model that other states should follow.
  • Source: Lessons for de Blasio in New Jersey's Free Pre-K. New York Times. January 6, 2014.
New Jersey's pre-school programs in its largest urban school districts have been rated among the best in the nation. Rigorous studies have shown that New Jersey's high quality pre-school programs in its largest urban school districts are showing big long-lasting gains for children who attend.

New Jersey Leads the Nation in Student Achievement and Growth Among Low-Income Students

Looking at all grades and across subject areas, New Jersey’s track record is second in the nation in low-income student performance and growth in performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

New Jersey Leads the Nation in Student Achievement and Growth Among African-American Students

Looking at all grades and across subject areas, New Jersey’s track record places it among the top states in the nation in African-American student performance and growth in performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

New Jersey Leads the Nation in Writing Scores Among Students in Low-Income Families

Among students in low-income families, using the most recent data available, New Jersey ranks #1 in the nation in NAEP Writing Achievement scores—far higher than any other state.

New Jersey Is Among the Best in the Nation in Math Scores Among Students inLow-Income Families

Statistically, only two other states out-perform New Jersey when it comes to the average 8th Grade Math NAEP scores among students in low income families.

New Jersey is the Best in the Nation in Math Scores Among Students in African American and Hispanic Families

Statistically, no state out-performs New Jersey when it comes to the average 12th Grade Math NAEP scores among students in low income families.

New Jersey is the Best in the Nation in Math Scores Among Students in African American and Hispanic Families

No state in the nation scores statistically higher than New Jersey when it comes to the average 8th Grade Math NAEP scores among either African- American or Hispanic Students.

Math Scores for 4th Graders in Low-Income Families Are Up Greatly

The proportion of fourth graders scoring proficient or higher in NAEP Math has increased nearly five-fold since 1996.

Math Scores for 8th Graders in Low-Income Families Are Up Greatly

The proportion of eighth graders scoring proficient or higher in NAEP Math has grown by nearly one-half since 2003.

New Jersey Is Among the Best in the Nation in Reading Scores Among Students in Low-Income Families

Among public school student in low-income families, only two other states statistically out-perform New Jersey when it comes to the average 4th Grade Reading NAEP scores.

New Jersey Is Among the Best in the Nation in Reading Among African-American and Hispanic Students

No state in the nation scores statistically higher than New Jersey when it comes to the average 4th Grade Reading NAEP scores among either African- American or Hispanic Students.

New Jersey Is Among the Best in the Nation in Math Among African-American and Hispanic Students

No state in the nation scores statistically higher than New Jersey when it comes to the average 8th Grade Math NAEP scores among either African- American or Hispanic Students.

Reading Scores for 4th Graders in Low-Income Families Are Up

The proportion of fourth graders scoring proficient or higher in fourth grade reading is up by nearly 40% since 2003.

Reading Scores for 8th Graders in Low-Income Families Are Up

The proportion of eighth graders scoring proficient or higher in 8th grade math has has grown by nearly one-third since 2003.