Westwood Regional students continued a trend of improvement on standardized tests last year, according to a district report.
Westwood had a greater percentage of students pass tests in every grade level and subject on NJASK and HSPA tests last year compared to the District Factor Group (DFG) total, according to District Testing Coordinator Rory McCourt.
The DFG is a system which groups school districts from similar socio-economic areas for comparison. Westwood's DFG includes Hillsdale, Emerson and Paramus, among others.
The improvement of test scores has been an objective in the district since students had what officials called "substandard" scores in the 2009-10 school year, according to McCourt. Westwood had a greater percentage of passing students than the DFG total in only six out of 14 subjects and grade levels in 2009-10. That rose to Westwood beating the DFG in 14 out of 17 categories in 2010-11 and continued to 17 out of 17 categories last year.
"I think it's clear that we met that objective," McCourt said.
Westwood students also improved in many areas compared to the district's own previous scores. Some noteworthy highlights include a 10 percent increase in the passing rate for Washington School third-graders in language arts and a 12 percent passing rate increase for George School fourth-graders in language arts.
At Westwood Jr./Sr. High School, 81.3 percent of students who took AP tests scored a three or higher and 47.5 percent scored a four or higher.
McCourt attributed the district's success to a combination of new action plans, along with dedication from parents and teachers who focused on preparing the students.
"I think the kids really got into embracing the challenge," McCourt said. I think the parents got into it. I think the teachers got into it, they really responded to it as a professional challenge."
Going forward, McCourt said the district will try to maintain its strong areas, improve key areas and prepare for the NJASK switching over to the new common core standards.
District officials will be presenting individual schools' results to parents over the next several weeks.
"We're trying to be as forthcoming and proactive as we can be," McCourt said.