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American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009

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School Improvement (Title I SIA, Part g)» ARRA Home


DEFINITIONS OF Tier I, Tier II and Tier III Schools  (SFSF II Descriptor (d)(1)) 

TIER I Schools

Appendix A is the list, by LEA, of each of the 20 Tier I schools that are Title I schools in need of improvement.  The Tier I schools include one school that was added due to NJ’s “graduation rate”.

TIER II Schools

Appendix B lists the 12 Tier II secondary schools (5 Title I eligible and not served and 7 Title I “newly eligible schools”).  For Tier II, the NJDOE used the “newly eligible schools” provision afforded to states in the January 2010 new interim final SIG requirements. No schools were added to the Tier II list as a result of NJ’s “graduation rate”. A secondary school is a school that provides “secondary education, as determined under State law, except that the term does not include any education beyond grade 12” ESEA section 9101(38).  Grades 9-12 are identified as secondary schools in New Jersey.  A Title I eligible secondary school not served by Title I is included if its poverty percentage is above the district-wide poverty average, above the appropriate grade-span poverty average, or 35 percent or more.

TIER III Schools

The NJDOE selected Tier III schools to be eligible for SIG funds contingent upon availability of funds for this Tier. The full list of these schools (174) is in Appendix C. Title I schools in need of improvement in the bottom 12th percentile were selected. Depending on the available funds, the NJDOE will give priority to the 14 high schools highlighted on this list through a competitive application process. 

Title I High School Priority: The NJDOE focus is on our struggling high schools. These 12 Title I high schools were selected using the list of ranking performance and growth using the persistently lowest achieving methodology. For Tier II, the NJDOE identified 12 high schools. For Tier III, additional high schools were selected going down the list. LEAs may apply for the SIG grant for these schools using the same competitive process for Tier I and Tier II schools except that selection of the four models will be optional LEA commitment and capacity will be considered in the context of the Tier I and Tier II schools being served as a result of this NGO.

TIER III

The Tier III schools, listed in Appendix C, are for informational purposes only. LEAs are not eligible to apply for Tier III schools in this NGO.  If an LEA does not serve any of its Tier I schools, it will not be eligible to apply for its Tier III schools.

Method to Identify Tier I, II and III Schools

New Jersey ranked each set of schools; (a) Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring and (b) secondary schools eligible for, but that do not receive, Title I funds—from highest to lowest in terms of proficiency of the “all students” group on the State’s reading/language arts and mathematics assessments combined. One school was excluded from the list for Tier I as it is an adult school. No schools were excluded from the Tier II or the Tier III list.

Adding Ranks Method

Step 1: Calculated the percent proficient for reading/language arts for every school in the relevant set of schools using the most recent assessment data available.  (Used the same data that the State reports on its report card under section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i) of the ESEA for the “all students” group.)

Step 2: Calculated the percent proficient for mathematics for every school in the relevant set of schools using the most recent assessment data available.  (Used the same data that the State reports on its report card under section 1111(h)(1)(C)(i) of the ESEA for the “all students” group.)

Step 3:  Rank ordered schools based on the percent proficient for reading/language arts from the highest percent proficient to the lowest percent proficient.  The highest percent proficient received a rank of one.

Step 4:  Rank ordered schools based on the percent proficient for mathematics from the highest percent proficient to the lowest percent proficient.  The highest percent proficient received a rank of one.

Step 5:  Added the numerical ranks for reading/language arts and mathematics for each school.

Step 6:  Rank ordered schools in each set of schools based on the combined reading/language arts and mathematics ranks for each school.  The school with the lowest combined rank (e.g., 2, based on a rank of 1 for both reading/language arts and mathematics) was the highest-achieving school within the set of schools and the school with the highest combined rate was the lowest-achieving school within the set of schools. 

To determine whether a school has demonstrated a “lack of progress” on the State’s assessment, New Jersey applied, as specified in the guidance, the Lowest Achieving Over Multiple Years method to identify the lowest achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. (Tier I)

Lowest Achieving Over Multiple Years

The state repeated the steps in the Adding Ranks Method for two previous years for each school.  Then, it selected five percent of schools with the lowest combined percent proficient or highest numerical rank based on three years of data to define the persistently lowest-achieving schools in the State.

The same process was used to rank the secondary schools that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds from highest to lowest based on the academic achievement of the “all students “group.  (See Adding Ranks Method above).  After applying the Lowest Achieving Over Multiple Years method, the lowest achieving five secondary schools were selected.  Since the initial Tier II list included secondary schools that are significantly higher achieving than the many Title I-participating secondary schools that are not among the persistently lowest achieving schools in Tier I, NJDOE used the “newly eligible schools” provision, and added the next lowest 10% of  the Title I participating secondary schools to the Tier II list.  Tier III list were the Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are not in Tier I.

High School Graduation Rates

New Jersey recognizes the need to address high schools that do not adequately prepare students to graduate with the skills needed for college and employment. In compliance with 34 C.F.R. Section 200.19(b), New Jersey will be using the graduation rate, which currently is a leaver rate, to identify schools that have a graduation rate of less than 60% over two years. The leaver rate will be used until the four year cohort is utilized next year.  This is consistent with the federal requirements of using such a rate until the 2010-2011 school year.  Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, New Jersey will utilize the four year cohort model to identify the High Schools with graduation rates less than 60%.