NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The four-year student graduation rate at New Brunswick High School has increased by almost 5%, according a performance report released by the state Wednesday.

According to the report, the graduation rate was 78.1% last spring, up from 73.4% in 2018.

It was just one takeaway from the School Performance Report for the 2018-19 school year released by the New Jersey Department of Education.

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Unlike in previous years, when the state would score schools across the state on a scale of 0-100, this year's report puts an emphasis on student progress, proficiency and graduation rates over the past three years.

The report also features expanded data that allows comparisons between student groups - gender, homeless students, students in foster care, for example - for student growth, chronic absenteeism, graduation rates and career and technical education program participation;

It also provides more information, including participation in computer science and information technology courses, results of the first year of the NJSLA-Science assessment that was given to fifth, eighth and 11th graders last school year and school-level per-pupil expenditures.

“The annual school performance report serves as a transparent school and district accountability resource for the school community,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “These reports provide valuable information that can inform discussions about how to successfully meet the needs of students and help schools identify areas in need of improvement.”

In all, 11 New Brunswick schools were included in the report: Redshaw, Lincoln Annex, Lincoln, Livingston, Lord Stirling, McKinley, New Brunswick High School, New Brunswick Middle School, Paul Robeson Community School for the Arts, Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.

When it came to grading student growth, the state DOE created a "median student growth percentile" in which each student gets a student growth percentile from 1 to 99 for English (fourth to eight grade) and math (fourth to seventh grade) that explains his or her progress compared to students who had similar test scores in the past. If the student growth percentiles for all students in the school are ordered from smallest to largest, the median student growth percentile is the percentile in the middle of that list.

Only one school - Lord Stirling - graded in the "exceeds standards" in English or math. It scored a 65 in math, in which the "exceeds standards threshold" is between 60-99.

In the category that looked at whether students met or exceeded expectations on statewide assessments, all 11 schools fell in the below state standards category. The math scores for New Brunswick High School seniors was not provided "to protect student privacy."

Absenteeism was above the stage average in all 11 schools.

Chronic absenteeism, as defined by the state DOE as those students who were absent for 10% or more of days enrolled - was highest at the high school (21.9%) and McKinley (25.8%). The state average is 9%.

The four-year state graduation rate is 90.6%.

TAPinto New Brunswick requested a comment from the school district, but has not received one.