School rankings matter, especially in New Jersey.
According to a Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, 25% of home buyers rank school quality as a deciding factor in their home purchase decision. Another 20% of buyers from the same survey rate proximity to schools as a key factor in deciding which home to buy.
Not surprisingly, families move to northern New Jersey to take advantage of some of the leading schools in the country, and choosing the right school–and town–for your child is a big decision. Just this week, WalletHub ranked New Jersey as the state having the 2nd best public school system in the nation, and NJ is home to 17 National Blue Ribbon Schools.
For NJ homebuyers, schools are always top of mind, so here are the 5 best school rankings surveys for New Jersey home buyers. You’ll see that the lists incorporate different criteria, and as a result, provide many different ways to evaluate our excellent schools.
1. NJ Monthly Magazine rates the top high schools in the state
The NJ Monthly Magazine Top High Schools list collects data from local schools in New Jersey. The magazine also collaborates with an independent research company to analyze information provided by the Department of Education (DOE). The biannual list adjusts the weight of specific factors such as Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program scores to obtain the most accurate results. While the school survey presents unbiased results, some readers feel it lacks the resident feedback that often impacts their decision-making processes. In addition, the survey only covers New Jersey public high school rankings which may not be an immediate concern for families with younger children.
NJ Monthly Magazine, Education 2016: Our Top Schools
2. U.S. News & World Report grades high schools on their academic success rate
U.S. News & World Report collects data on public high schools across the country. Schools receive a gold, silver or bronze medal based on two major indicators: performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. The list endorses schools that produce a measurable academic outcome for students across the board. While the list identifies the top-performing schools in the U.S., some families prefer more localized surveys considering the report primarily focuses on student success following high school. It does not examine students’ progress or how much they learn during their high school career.
U.S. News & World Report: US News Best High School Rankings
3. Newsweek ranks high schools based on student preparedness
Newsweek’s annual ranking of the top high schools in the U.S. also remains a well-established resource for families. The survey evaluates students’ ability to transition to their next life event whether they attend two- or four-year colleges or choose to pursue a career. The criteria for the list includes factors like graduation rates, the number of college-bound graduates and Advanced Placement (AP) tests taken by each graduate. Newsweek also measures the effectiveness of each school in terms of whether or not they equip students with the tools for success.
Newsweek, America’s Top High Schools 2016
4. Niche develops school rankings by drawing from independent data sources
Niche takes a different approach to school rankings. The survey includes K-12 schools across the country, and it uses a slightly more familiar ranking system by assigning schools letter grades from “A” to “C.” Niche acquires data from multiple sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Education (DOE) to generate comprehensive reviews. However, due to the amount of self-reporting typically through the use of online-generated surveys offered by the website, the results can be skewed. The website also relies on more generalized data. Individual schools can be weighed down in the rankings by more holistic reference points like Overall District Score, and also a parent that is outside of the school district may submit feedback on the district.
Niche, 2019 Best Schools in America
5. GreatSchools uses parent feedback to generate comprehensive school reviews
GreatSchools, a leading website trusted by parent communities, gives a clear snapshot of a school in a select region and compares the school’s performance to nearby schools. Not only do parents submit feedback on the school system, they offer recommendations to new parents. The survey does not solely assess the school’s academic performance, test scores and student progress, but extends its research to environmental factors like the number of student groups represented–one example being students with disabilities–the quality of the teaching staff and even the housing market in the surrounding area.
GreatSchools, Summary Rating
Are you interested in buying a home in northern New Jersey, but need more information on the schools in our area? Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to assist you.