Eastern BOE reviews standardized test scores

ECCRSD outperforms state, nation in SAT and ACT

The Eastern Camden County Regional School District Board of Education held its monthly meeting Nov. 20 and discussed standardized test scores as well as new courses planned for next school year.

Supervisor of Guidance and Testing Coordinator Jason Susko presented statistics regarding Eastern Regional’s SAT, ACT and AP test scores from the previous five years. Last year’s  data was recently made available.

The numbers showed Eastern Regional had 321 students take at least one AP exam last school year, with 749 exams taken. In total, 273 students received a score of at least a three on one AP exam, meaning 85 percent of students who took AP exams received what is typically a passing level. Exams are graded on a scale of one to five.

Other figures show Eastern had a 5 percent increase in the number of students who scored a three or better, but experienced an 8 percent decrease in the total number of students who took an AP exam. In 2018, 348 students took an AP exam at Eastern.

Based on SAT scores, Eastern performed well compared with the state and nation. Out of a maximum score of 800 for both Critical Reading/Writing and Mathematics, Eastern students last year averaged a score of 592 in reading and writing and 603 in math. The numbers were nearly 50 points higher than other New Jersey students and also eclipsed the average national score.

Eastern scores in previous years also indicated an increase, according to Susco.

“If you compare those scores to not just the state and national average, but with how Eastern has averaged in the past, you’ll see that [Eastern student] averages in both the [Critical Reading/Writing] category and Mathematics category have continued to climb,” he explained.

For example, Eastern had scores of 546 in Critical Reading and 561 in Mathematics in 2015, with the most recent years’ data indicating a dramatic increase between the two tests.

Regarding ACT test scores, Susko presented reports similar to the SAT, noting Eastern students outperformed both the state and national average in English, Mathematics, Reading, Science and Composite scores.

Director of Academic Programs and Student Performance Kristin Borda presented the board with revisions made to the course handbook for the 2020-2021 school year, later approved during the regular meeting.

Borda said four new classes will be added to the school curriculum, with no additional staffing needed. A course called “Investments” will be available for students in grades 10 through 12 to take as a five-credit class, the result of feedback from District Advisory meetings.

“Financial literacy is something that the community is really valuing in terms of competencies for our graduates,” Borda said. “We have a teacher who is very interested in offering a course in investments in our business department, so we’re really looking forward to adding that to all of the other courses that we have … in those areas.”

Three additional new courses are all math-related, including Algebra I Accelerated B,   Integrated Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus Honors and Multivariable Calculus. Changes also were made to existing courses.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18.

In other district news:

  • Eastern Regional student Jeremy Bender was recognized as Scholar of the Month for November 2019.
  • Superintendent Robert Cloutier said he met earlier this month with Voorhees Police Chief Louis Bordi to discuss the Memorandum of Agreement between the district and police.
  • Business Administrator Diana Schiraldi said the enrollment number the district reported to the state was 1,944 students for the 2019-2020 school year. According to Schiraldi, the Department of Education allots state aid based on student enrollment numbers. Since enrollment showed a decrease of 32 students from the previous year, she explained, the board may expect a smaller amount in state aid next year.
  • The district sold two separate groups of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to NJSREC.com. The district sold 135 SRECs for a total of $30,847.50 on Oct. 10, as well as an additional 42 SRECs on Nov. 15, for a total of $9,534.