SIDNEY — The Ohio Department of Education has released the 2016-17 school report cards Thursday, revealing performance and progress in all the state schools. Local districts vary with their reactions to the results.
“If someone would just look at the front page of the grade card they would be disappointed,” said Scott Mann, superintendent of Riverside. “However, if you look at the scores across the state, I believe everyone would. So when I look at scores I look at growth of our students since the inception of the new testing and standards and we are growing in a positive direction.”
Riverside received a ‘D’ performance index and met 8 percent of its indicators, but maintained an overall ‘B’ progress grade and met 60 percent of its annual measurable objectives in gap closing, granting them a ‘D’ in that component as well.
The report cards include six major components – Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success. Each component has one or more measure within it, and each component is assigned an “A” to “F” letter grade.
The attached table shows the letter grades for local school districts in all categories and sub-categories. The Indicators Met category answers the question: “How many students passed the state tests?” While the Performance Index category asks: “How well did the students do on the state tests?” The graduation rates cover how many students graduated in four years and five years.
The progress section is the district’s average progress for its students in math and reading, grades four to eight. It looks at how much each student learns in a year. Did students get a year’s worth of growth? Did they get more? Did they get less? It looks at all students, gifted students, lowest 20 percent of students in achievement and students with disabilities.
The gap closing, or annual measurable objectives (AMO), grade measures how the performance of student groups in the district compare to the state goal in reading, math and graduation regardless of income, race, ethnicity or disability.
The K-3 Literacy grade answers the question: “Are more students learning to read in kindergarten through third grade?” The prepared for success category looks at if students are prepared for future opportunities.
The “n/r” in any category means that the sample size was too small for the affected students.
For some, the report cards were tough but telling. Sidney City schools Superintendent John Scheu said that something had to change with how Sidney as a district approached meeting report card standards. Sidney received a performance index grade of “D” and an “F” for indicators met.
“No excuses; we didn’t get the job done,” he said. “Our teachers are well qualified and dedicated. It is obvious how we have approached meeting these state standards is not working. We will go back to the drawing board and especially concentrate on analyzing the data we have access to.”
He noted that some progress was not visible in the district grade.
“There are pockets of significant progress in individual buildings which do not show on the district report card. For example, our Middle School scored an ‘A’ in Value Added, yet our district Value Added was an ‘F’,” he said. “These pockets of success need to be duplicated throughout the district.”
Other districts received pleasanter news. For Anna, the only changes in it’s district report card was to raise their gifted grade from a “B” to an “A,” their K-3 literacy from an “F” to a “D” and their AMO grade from a “C” to a “D.”
“Achievement results show students were well prepared from a curriculum and instruction standpoint. Both our performance relative to last year as well compared to the rest of the state indicate that Anna school’s staff was ready for the changes implemented in 2016-17,” Superintendent Andy Bixler said. “This report card is a reflection of our excellent students that come from supportive families being taught by an outstanding staff.”
Fort Loramie Superintendent Dan Holland expressed his positive opinion of his district’s report card, which fell in a few places, including indicators met, overall value-added and AMO.
“We are certainly pleased with the continued achievement progress of our students,” he said. “With the significant changes made at the state level in the actual assessments and the increased cutoff scores for indicator proficiency, it’s hard to draw comparisons from year to year anymore. We will maintain our focus on student achievement and classroom instruction.”
Botkins Superintendent Jeff McPheron also noted the strain the changing tests places on school districts.
“I feel like the constant and continued changes to testing in Ohio does influence the scores you see on the state report card; that being said our staff and students have done a fantastic job adjusting to the changes and showing what our students are capable of on the state tests,” he said. “We are proud to have finished 30th in the entire state of Ohio in Performance Index. It’s a true indication that our hard work and perseverance is paying off.”
McPheron also noted the report card is important, but not as important as offering a “well-rounded education for our students and teaching them to be productive citizens and life long learners.”
Fairlawn, Minster, New Knoxville and Russia all maintained or mostly raised their grades for the 2016-17 year. New Bremen, Versailles and Hardin-Houston all fell in their indicators, but raised their AMO grades. Minster Superintendent Brenda Boeke said she was proud of her district, but also noted the report card was only one piece of the puzzle.
“The state accountability system is one data point we use to monitor progress toward our mission, but does not tell the complete story,” she said. “The state accountability system addresses the academic learning of our students. The other areas we focus on to help us meet our mission include: our teachers and the teaching environment; student citizenship and their well-being; our school culture; and available resources. We want our students to be the best students they can be but more importantly we want them to be prepared for the future and whatever it may hold for them.”
Of the 12 districts in the Shelby county area, six were placed in the top 100 in Ohio based on performance index. Those schools were Minster (17), Fort Loramie (28), Botkins (30), Russia (36), Anna (37) and Versailles (42).
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews
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