Mixed results in State Report Cards


By News Journal staff - and Diana Miller - For The News Journal



CLINTON COUNTY — School districts throughout Ohio received their 2015-2016 School Report Cards released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

Gathering report information from individual schools and school districts, the ODE evaluates specific marks of performance — called measures — within six broad categories.

While in the past ODE has assigned letter grades on most of the individual measures, this year, ODE assigned letter grades on each of the six components, providing “a more complete snapshot of the quality of education being provided to students.”

By focusing on student achievement in grades K-12, the following components, as identified by the Ohio Department of Education, allow educators to identify goal areas where improvement is needed while also recognizing areas of growth and strength, according to the ODE.

• The Prepared for Success component grade shows how well a school and district’s students will be prepared for success after high school.

• The Graduation Rate component reveals the percentage of students in a school or district that graduated in four years and in five years.

• The Progress component shows whether students in grades 4-8 and those taking high school end-of-course tests made the expected year’s-worth of growth in math, reading, science and social studies during the school year.

• The Achievement component indicates how well all students performed on state achievement tests.

• The Gap Closing component shows whether schools and districts are closing historic gaps in academic achievement between specific groups of students, such as those who are economically disadvantaged compared to students as a whole.

• The K-3 Literacy component indicates whether students who are struggling to read at the beginning of kindergarten through grade 3 are improving to grade-level reading by the beginning of the next grade. It tells us whether a school or district’s youngest students are building the essential reading skills they’ll need to keep learning and achieving throughout their school careers.

Because Ohio has raised expectations for what its students must learn in the classroom by introducing rigorous learning standards and new state tests to match those standards, some districts may see lower report card grades on some measures, stated the ODE.

“We’ve long expected that grades might decline as we began to raise the bar for our students and schools,” said Dr. Lonny J. Rivera, interim state superintendent of public instruction, but “we believe both teachers and students will take steps to adjust to the new standards and tests.”

Blanchester Superintendent Dean D. Lynch said, “Within the Progress measure we were very pleased to see our Overall Value Added and Students with Disabilities (two measurements of Progress) receive an A.”

He added that Blanchester like other districts across Ohio is not used to seeing its Achievement scores this low on their report card. “Traditionally, schools receiving A’s and B’s on Achievement measures are now experiencing C’s, D’s or even F’s with the new state assessments,” he said.

The Blanchester superintendent continued, “Being forced to teach and administer the state’s written and assessed curriculums is like eating a plate of spaghetti without a napkin. After a while it starts to become messy.”

He added, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at this year’s report card scores and begin to see many high school students’ scores are low. This puts them in jeopardy of being ‘point deficient’ (new graduation requirement) to graduate.”

Lynch also stated in a press release, “Teachers have had to prepare for three different state assessments (OGT, PARCC, AIR) in the last four years. ODE released our 2015 Report Cards on Feb. 25, 2016. That is six months into the school year, giving teachers about five weeks to sort through the plethora of data, and plan and adjust their taught curriculums to prepare students for the 2016 tests. ODE has made multiple changes in their written curriculums (Academic Content Standards, Ohio Content Standards, Common Core and a mixture of the latter two).”

He stated, “To all my neighboring teachers and colleagues as well as those across the state, we appreciate your efforts in educating our children despite the mess our legislature has put on your plate.”

Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker said he is pleased by the district’s grade of “B” in the Progress Component, which grades the progress all students are making based on past performance.

An expected growth is “C”, meaning students grew an expected value of one year. Therefore, a “B” demonstrates that Clinton-Massie students are making more than one year of growth in an academic year.

He noted that the district’s lower grades in certain categories were in line with most districts statewide, and that the Clinton-Massie district is always seeking to improve.

East Clinton Superintendent Eric Magee said because of all the changes in state testing, it’s hard to compare these results to last year’s results, adding he thinks the district is showing growth in lots of different areas.

These results, said Magee, don’t give the district’s educators a lot of feedback. But schools will later have access to what Magee called deeper information on individual students.

“So, we will be able to gain more from those individual pieces than this broad stroke of the ever-changing grades that districts get, with new and higher standards each year, this year being no different,” said Magee.

He added, “All local superintendents agree that we support accountability, and welcome information on how students are progressing. But at the same time, it’s concerning we have different tests, and varying standards and different benchmarks.”

Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Superintendent Ron Sexton said obviously he is not happy with the WCS results.

“But I’m more frustrated with our state officials. They have made change after change; hired three different testing companies with three different approaches, and schools have had to change what they prepare kids for,” said Sexton.

“The thing that kills us is the constant change, change change; burning out teachers and principals and turning the public against the schools,” the WCS superintendent added.

“We’re not against testing — but just keep the same thing for a while,” said Sexton.

Sexton said he is pleased with the district’s science scores and reading scores.

The scores for Clinton County school districts:

Blanchester:

Achievement Component Grade: C

Graduation Component Grade: A

Progress Component Grade: B

Gap Closing Component Grade: F

K-3 Literacy Component Grade: D

Prepared for Success Grade: D

Clinton-Massie:

Achievement Component Grade: C

Graduation Component Grade: A

Progress Component Grade: B

Gap Closing Component Grade: F

K-3 Literacy Component Grade: F

Prepared for Success Grade: C

East Clinton:

Achievement Component Grade: D

Graduation Component Grade: B

Progress Component Grade: C

Gap Closing Component Grade: F

K-3 Literacy Component Grade: F

Prepared for Success Grade: D

Wilmington:

Achievement Component Grade: D

Graduation Component Grade: C

Progress Component Grade: C

Gap Closing Component Grade: F

K-3 Literacy Component Grade: F

Prepared for Success Grade: D

For additional information regarding school districts’ School Report Cards, visit www.education.ohio.gov.

http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Graphic-ODE-RPT-Card-2.jpg

By News Journal staff

and Diana Miller

For The News Journal

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