State report cards show schools have work to do PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Friday, 23 August 2013 10:20
Schools-Graded_rotator
Most local school districts did well on the new Local Report Card, but all have more work to do.
The state is no longer labeling schools and districts "Excellent" or "Continuous Improvement."
But the new system is supposed to make it easier for parents, the community and even educators to track how well their schools are doing.
All districts except Bowling Green, Eastwood, Lakota, Perrysburg and Rossford received an F in at least one of nine measures.
When the last Report Card was issued, in March for 2011-12, Eastwood and Perrysburg schools hit the top marker with an "Excellent with Distinction."
This year in Perrysburg, the district received five A's and four B's.
"We're trying to make heads and tails of all of it," said Tom Hosler, Perrysburg Schools superintendent, about the new format. "We're happy with what we've seen," but the district will look at the data "to make sure we're moving students in the right direction."
The scores validate some programs that the district has done, he added.
"We know we need to continue to keep moving (forward) ... and implement the programs we have to make sure we're reaching all students."
Eastwood earned four A's, two B's, and three C's.
"We need to make sure that all students are growing. When I look at the growth rates for all of our students, the results were very positive. However, when we look more deeply into the numbers, we can also see that there is work to do," indicated Eastwood Superintendent Brent Welker.
For districts that earned an F, they were in the Progress or Gap Closing components of the newly-styled report.
The report includes Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing and Graduation Rate components. The Progress component determines the value-added progress of three specific groups on children: gifted, those with disabilities, and students in the lowest 20 percent of achievement statewide. It takes the test scores from the previous year and compares it to this year, and measures whether students gained in proficiency.
The Gap Closing proponents average measurable objects for a specific groups of students.
As an example, if a district's graduation rate is 85 percent for all students, but 48 percent for African-Americans, "that's a gap," explained John Charlton, associate director of communications at the Ohio Department of Education.
"Anything you can measure, you can have a gap," he continued.
Elmwood earned a C in each of three measurable groups in Progress, but earned an overall F.
North Baltimore earned a C in two areas in Progress and still earned an overall F. It also earned an F in Gap Closing.
The F grade, which indicates less than 60 percent achievement, shows a gap in academic achievement between groups of students.
Lake earned an F in gifted value-added, but earned an overall B in Progress. Northwood also earned an F in gifted, but had an overall A.
Otsego had an F in disabled value-added, but had a D overall.
"It's certainly suggests that we have some areas to work on," said Marlene North, superintendent in North Baltimore.
"It unfortunately doesn't reflect all the hard work going on in North Baltimore. But it will help us put a focus on areas that need work."
Asked if she thinks the new system of A-F will make it easier for parents to understand, she adamantly said "No, I don't."
People didn't have a problem understanding the previous system of "Continuous Improvement," "Effective" and "Excellent," she stated.
State officials have repeatedly said the new system will make it easier for parents, the community and even educators track progress.
"I think it will take some time to understand each component," said Charlton. "But it gives a more comprehensive look at how a district is doing."
The new report also gives parents and taxpayers a chance to hold schools accountable, he said.
Ann McVey, superintendent of Bowling Green Schools, also disagrees at the state's assessment that the new system will be easier to understand.
"It will take time for districts to understand and address the specific components," she stated.
In Bowling Green, five A's were earned, plus two B's, one C and one D.
"We are really proud of meeting all the indicators and we've increased our performance index," said McVey.
"Of course we'll be focusing on closing the gap for subgroups."
She continued, "These are more rigorous ratings of more rigorous standards."
A graph on this page indicates each districts' individual score.
The scores for each individual measure for district and schools buildings can also be found at http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/.

Schools given letter grades for performance
Data encompassing Ohio's new Local Report Cards has been released, giving letter grades on several measures in the same way a student receives grades for his or her classes.  
Schools and districts are no longer receiving labels like "Excellent" or "Continuous Improvement." No district in Ohio earned all A's, and none earned all F's.
But the chances of a district formerly making "Excellent With Distinction" status doing well on all four components are slim.
The report card has nine measures that receive grades. There will be no component or overall grades until August 2015.
The initial components on the new report card are:  
• Achievement: This component measures absolute academic achievement compared to national standards of success.
Within this component are grades measures for standards met and for performance index.
•  Progress: This component measures the average annual improvement for each student. In other words, whether a student gained more or less a year of knowledge and skills each year.
Letter grades are given for overall value-added, gifted value-added, disabled value-added, and lowest 20 percent value-added.
• Gap Closing: This component measures how well a school or district is doing in narrowing gaps in reading, math and graduation rate among students according to socioeconomic, racial, ethnic or disability status.
A letter grade is given for annual measurable objectives.
•  Graduation Rate: This component measures the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade and graduated in four and five years.
Two letter grades are given here, for 4-year graduation rate in 2012, and five-year graduation rate for 2011.
K-3 Literacy, which measures the improvement in reading for students in kindergarten through grade three, will be added in August 2014.
Prepared for Success, which measures whether students who graduate are prepared for college or a career, will not receive a grade until August 2015.
Additional details explaining each on the nine measures can be found at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Data/Accountability-Resources.
During a conference call Thursday morning before the data was released, state Schools Superintendent Richard Ross repeatedly said the new data will give parents and community members better insight into how their district, and even an individual building, is doing.
He pointed out that one in five students don't graduate from high school, and 27,000 third-graders can't read at their grade level.
"This can't keep happening," he stated.
The new Report Card "is peeling back layers of data so it can be clearly seen by parents, the community, and even educators," Ross said.
About the new Gap component, a school or district cannot get an A if one of its groups is not reaching the goal set by all students.
Groups include economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.
"It is fundamentally wrong to have lower expectations of some of our students," Ross stated. "We must get all students to the same achievement level."
When viewing each of nine letter grades, "no one should try to average grades on this year's measures," said Tom Gunlock, vice president of the state Board of Education, who was also on the conference call.
Ross said of the new system, "this is where we are and it's a call to action."
Last Updated on Friday, 23 August 2013 12:18
 

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