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SCHOOL REPORT CARDS It’s going to take time for people to figure out what the data means

Jeff Staff Reporters Published: August 30, 2013 1:34 PM

On Thursday, Aug. 22, the Ohio Department of Education released the first round of school performance assessments using the new letter grade report cards.

The reports include results for school districts and buildings in nine of 18 performance categories. Districts and buildings aren’t scheduled to receive overall grades until 2015.

The revamped system replaces the six-tier assessment system that featured such labels as “Excellent” and “Continuous Improvement” with more familiar letter grades. It also requires schools to meet a few more stringent performance standards intended to help Ohio students compete on a global stage.

“It’s going to take some time for everyone to understand what the new system really means,” said East Guernsey Local School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Hall. “Quite frankly, it’s a system that I think will make sense to people, because it’s letter grade driven. However, it’s an entirely different way of looking at data, so it’s going to take some time to educate our public on what the data actually means.”

Initial examination of the grades could cause confusion among some, as some districts receive high marks in some areas and low, even failing grades in others.

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“With the increased standards and accountability, it’s not surprising that some districts have lower grades than expected,” Dr. Hall said. “As superintendents, we expected that. We obviously have some areas to address at East Guernsey, and we’re going to do that. Our next step will be to drill down into the data, take a hard look at that, make adjustments to improve the education we offer our students.

Dr. Hall was quick to point out that errors exist in the letter grades for all districts with foreign exchange students on their rolls last year, owing to a glitch in the state’s calculations. The ODE is aware of this. In the case of the East Guernsey district, corrections will improve some letter grades.

“This is the first time we have the new reporting system,” said East Muskingum Local School District Superintendent Jill Johnson. “It’s complicated. Even the terminology has changed.”

As with Dr. Hall, acclimation to the new system will require time, she said. However, the new system will serve well as an evaluation tool.

“It is more detailed,” Johnson said. “It will allow us to have a more refined focus, instead of being so broad.”

Since the state began issuing district report cards, the East Muskingum district rose from “Continuous Improvement” through “Excellent” to “Excellent with Distinction” only to, in a sense, start anew.

“We have a good staff and I have full confidence we will do it again,” Johnson said.

Other local superintendents could not be reached for comment.

CALDWELL

A breakdown of the letter grades for the Caldwell Exempted Village School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — C     

• Performance index — C     

Progress

• Overall value-added — F    

• Gifted value-added — D    

• Disabled value-added — Not rated      

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — D    

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — F    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — A    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — B.    

CAMBRIDGE

A breakdown of the letter grades for the Cambridge City School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — C     

• Performance index — C     

Progress

• Overall value-added — D    

• Gifted value-added — C    

• Disabled value-added — B     

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — C    

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — F    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — C    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — D.    

EAST GUERNSEY

A breakdown of the letter grades for the East Guernsey Local School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — D     

• Performance index — C    

Progress

• Overall value-added — F

• Gifted value-added — C     

• Disabled value-added — C     

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — C    

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — F    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — B    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — C.    

E. MUSKINGUM

A breakdown of the letter grades for the East Muskingum Local School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — A     

• Performance index — B     

Progress

• Overall value-added — D    

• Gifted value-added — D    

• Disabled value-added — C     

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — B    

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — D    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — A    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — A.    

NOBLE LOCAL

A breakdown of the letter grades for the Noble Local School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — C     

• Performance index — C     

Progress

• Overall value-added — F    

• Gifted value-added — C    

• Disabled value-added — D     

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — D    

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — F    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — A    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — A.    

ROLLING HILLS

A breakdown of the letter grades for the Rolling Hills Local School District are as follows:

Achievement

• Standards met — C     

• Performance index — C     

Progress

• Overall value-added — A    

• Gifted value-added — C    

• Disabled value-added — B     

• Lowest 20 percent value-added — B     

Gap closing

• Annual measurable objectives — F    

Graduation rate

• Four-year graduate rate 2012 — B    

• Five-year graduate rate 2011 — D.    

According to the Ohio School Boards Association, analysis of the report card release confirms research that shows income and poverty have a direct correlation to student performance.

Among the 135 school districts above the state average income of $51,626, 91 percent scored an A in the letter grade of standards met category, while just 41 percent of the 474 districts below the state average income received an A.

Among the 360 districts with student poverty levels less than the state average, 74 percent earned an A, while only 20 percent of the 249 districts with poverty levels higher than the state average received an A.

For more information, go online to www.newreportcard.education.ohio.gov.


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