Hoboken High School by the Numbers

A full understanding of what contributes to test performance requires looking beyond headlines and digging into the data. Doing so reveals important truths about Hoboken High School, past and present.


Recent reports and news articles have brought renewed focus on Hoboken High School test scores and ranking amongst its peers. While most people would agree that what makes a school great goes way beyond standardized test scores, such testing is one of the few (mostly) objective measures available to track student performance. An important question to keep in mind, however, when considering recent trends and comparisons with other districts is: do these headlines and the data behind them fully and accurately describe the quality of the schools?

This was the question that prompted me to take a deep dive into the data and look at other ancillary factors behind the metrics. I looked at the contributors, historically, to such performance measures, and got better insight into the current state of the district, and the high school in particular. It was immediately apparent that certain actions taken in the past directly impacted average test performance scores and, as a result, the school's ranking in various publications. But the research effort also led to some important takeaways about administration of the school in recent years and speaks positively about the direction we are headed and how we will get there.

Report Summary:

  • Hoboken High School (like most public schools) has a mandate to accept and serve all children in the community; public schools with selection/admission criteria have an advantage in testing by drawing away high achieving students from other districts
  • Many districts have sought to improve their perceived test performance through improper handling of student enrollment and other means; Hoboken High School also did this throughout the early to mid-2000s
  • Introduction of the AJ Demarest Alternative School served many at-risk and academically struggling students; when these students moved out of the Hoboken High community it had an immediate and significant impact on average test scores reported by HHS
  • Both of these factors (mishandling of grade 11 student rolls and the addition of the Demarest Alternative School) also had a significant impact on the high school's ranking in the NJ Monthly 'Top High Schools' list, among others
  • Underlying socio-economic factors at play in the community along with the competitive school landscape are also fundamental, contributing factors that are well documented and decades in the making; improvements are possible but require dedicated, long term strategies
  • Essential to such solutions are accurate assessments of said challenges and commitment to higher standards for all; in this regard, the Hoboken district and Hoboken High School is making big strides and a number of statistics show how HHS is outperforming county peers and state averages
  • While district test scores and broader proficiency levels have a long way to go, the current standards being applied to reporting accuracy and transparency, as well as more rigorous academic tracks (including AP courses) indicate that substantive efforts are well underway
  • These higher academic standards, coupled with an already strong offering of elective courses, sports & arts programs, extracurriculars, and safe, well equipped facilities, mean that Hoboken High School represents a much more compelling educational option than recent headlines imply

The full report is linked in pdf form to this posting and is also available for download here: Hoboken High School by the Numbers: A Closer Look at Testing and Rankings


I look forward to (constructive) comments and feedback.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Elizabeth Markevitch November 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
part 1 Here is a detailed explanation about the so called "10R" issue--or missing 11th graders which Ruth often refers to . Over the past few months an old issue concerning mandated state testing (HSPA- New Jersey High School Proficiency Assessment) in Hoboken High School has been brought up in an attempt to paint past scores as dishonest. First The State of NEW Jersey exams all data and would not allow that . Apparently, the recent ranking of Hoboken High School in New Jersey Monthly prompted a forensic explanation and rationalization for various political groups-- each placing blame and taking credit for exposing and ending certain remediation practices and policies at Hoboken High. Hopefully this information will to put an end to speculation, character attacks, and to explain instructional decision making in an era of high stakes testing. Late in the 2007-2008 school year, they became aware of a practice in which students were identified for intense remediation and were required to take extra instructional remediation in order to help them pass the HSPA test. Data indicated that sometimes this intense remediation and course taking resulted in students not attaining the proper number of Carnegie units in a particular subject (Mathematics or English) leading to being officially classified as a freshman or sophomore for two successive years—yet remaining with their initial cohort for most of their classes
pdq November 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Oh Liz, you are such a sad case- All this basically says is we didnt give the HSPA test to all of the 11th graders until 2009. We called this removal of students from HSPA testing as a remedial program. Here;s what happened to another superintendent who used an identical "rememdial program: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/05/former-el-paso-schools-superintendent-faces-35-years-in-prison-for-test/#ixzz2C18QJXNz ThesLorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty in June to two counts of fraud and faces up to 3½ years in prison at sentencing Friday. Garcia admitted to devising a scheme to keep low performing students from taking the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Some of the students would be held back in the ninth grade Copying and supporting Petrosino's and Cella's words, is a great indication as to your character. Next you'll tell us all what a great superintended Gagliardi was- you remember him? The guy who caused a 297 pg audit with millions of money taken from the kids and given to the buddies. Remember Petrosino? The guy who lived in Texas and was paid `144k a year as an asst to the superintendent in Hoboken, collecting healthcare and pension credits. The guy who filed a bogus suit that he lost but the district / kids had to spend lots of money to fight the suit. And Cella? As though the 10r isnt enough, hows her lawsuit coming along?
ThisMeansWar November 12, 2012 at 11:03 PM
You're not seriously thinking of lecturing anyone, are you? How many votes did YOUR ticket buy this time? 700? That, in addition to YOUR ticket's unacknowledged use of the Nazi truck and midnight fliers. Congratulations. You have cast your lot with the worst political element in town. Enjoy their company.
pdq November 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Liz, how is it that a MANDATORY test wasnt given to all of the 11th grade students in 11th grade? This is a-okay with you? A school board candidate BELIEVES that it is okay NOT to give MANDATORY tests to students. Pathetic!
Kiri June 24, 2014 at 06:11 PM
Excellent article. THANK YOU!


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