In 2011, graduated 96.17 percent of the students who began studying at the school their freshman year, according to statistics released by the state Department of Education Tuesday. Statewide, the 2011 graduation rate was 83 percent.
Out of 43 Bergen County districts listed in the report, Mahwah had the 12th highest graduation rate, behind districts like Ramsey, Ridgewood, Northern Highlands and Tenafly. Glen Rock reported the highest graduation rate in the county, at 99.47 percent, and Palisades Park reported the lowest, at 75.86 percent.
The rates were calculated using a new federally-mandated system that takes into account how many students who entered as freshman graduated in 2011, the release said. Previously, the state used the “leaver” method of calculating graduation rates, which compared the number of graduating seniors to the total number of enrolled students, accounting for the number of drop-outs over the four-year high school period.
The new method, called the “four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate,” follows students throughout their four years in high school. It compares the number of graduates to the total number who enrolled four years before, not including students who moved, transferred or died. This method tracks students via a computer system that government officials say will make the reporting more accurate, the release said. “This new graduation methodology gives us an honest picture of our current level of achievement and a new baseline upon which we can measure our progress,” Acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf said in the release.
The new method does not currently account for students who take longer than four years to graduate.
Because the reporting method is new, state officials said the 2011 graduation rates cannot be compared to those of past years. NJ.com reported that the discrepancies in the reporting systems caused variations in graduation rates between 2010 and 2011.
Along with graduation rates, the state reported that 94.4 percent of Mahwah students graduated by passing both sections of the HSPA state exam. Four percent took an alternative assessment, and 1.6 percent were exempt from the state tests.
The Governor announced earlier this week a change coming to graduation requirements, based on the HSPA statewide results. Calling the HSPA a test that measures the equivelent of "eighth grade achievement level," the DOE said in a release that "90% of students that matriculate to Bergen and Essex County Community College, and 1/3 of students matriculating to Rutgers, need remediation before taking a college course."
According to Cerf, the state will transition from the HSPA to end-of-course exams as the graduation requirement in New Jersey. "We are taking a crucial step not only to increase the number of high school graduates, but to make a New Jersey diploma the gold standard for the country,” he said in the release.
Below are the 2011 graduation rates reported by the state Department of Education for districts in Bergen County:
Bergen County Vocational
Cliffside Park Boro
Fair Lawn Boro
Fort Lee Boro
Glen Rock Boro
Hasbrouck Heights Boro
Midland Park Boro
New Milford Boro
North Arlington Boro
Northern Highlands Reg
Northern Valley Regional
Park Ridge Boro
Pascack Valley Regional
Ramapo-Indian Hill Reg
Ridgefield Park Twp
River Dell Regional
Saddle Brook Twp