WCH City Schools pleased with student growth


By Martin Graham - mgraham@recordherald.com



Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Tom Bailey spoke about the district’s “C” grade following the recent release of the Ohio School Report Cards.

According to reportcard.education.ohio.gov, Ohio School Report Cards give the community a picture of the progress of local districts and schools in raising achievement and preparing students for the future. The information measures district and school performance in the areas most critical to success in learning. Ohio School Report Cards data shows educators, school administrators and families where their schools are succeeding as well as areas where they need to improve.

Ohio School Report Cards are divided up into six components: Achievement, Gap Closing, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers, Progress, Graduation Rate and Prepared for Success. For Washington City Schools, the scores were about or just under average in most of the components, but showed good growth from previous years.

ACHIEVEMENT

The first component, the “Achievement Component,” represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall. A new indicator measures chronic absenteeism.

In the achievement component grade, the district earned a “D” based on two sections, the performance index and indicators met.

The “Performance Index” measures the test results of every student, not just those who score proficient or higher. There are seven levels on the index and districts receive points for every student who takes a test. The higher the achievement level, the more points awarded in the district’s index. This rewards schools and districts for improving the performance of all students, regardless of achievement level. Out of a possible 120 points, the district earned 84.4 points, good for a 70.3 percent or “C” letter grade.

One reason for a lower grade in this area than perhaps some other districts is the amount of indicators met. Other districts, including Miami Trace, also earned an “F” in this category, but unfortunately for Washington City Schools they were unable to meet any of the 24 indicators.

PROGRESS

The “Progress Component” looks at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances. This section looks at the fourth through eighth grade and high school students, identifies them as either gifted students, students with disabilities or students in the lowest 20 percent statewide in achievement, and then compares them with how they did in the past.

In the progress component grade, the district earned an “A” based on four sections, the three groups of students growth and the overall growth.

For all students in math, English Language Arts and science, the progress has showed great growth with an “A” letter grade. Gifted students and students in the lowest 20 statewide percent both additionally grew at a great rate and earned an “A” letter grade apiece. Finally, students with disabilities saw this similar amount growth with an “A” letter grade.

Also included in the progress section are further details to show in what particular subjects are students seeing more or less growth. For all grades (fourth through eighth), in all tests there was significant evidence to suggest that students made more progress than expected. The scores at the high school showed a bit of stagnation, but overall Bailey said he was happy with this score.

“On this report card we are at an ‘A’ for progress,” Bailey said. “If we got a letter grade ‘C’, that is one year of expected growth. So we are growing the students significantly more than one year of expected growth in the four areas that they look at. We have put a lot of resources and attention specifically at Belle Aire this past year. We spent a lot of time there in trying to turn the building around because the scores were not great there, but Belle Aire have made a complete 180 degree turn around. Their report card alone showed significant gains in all areas, their achievement scores are way up. They went from an ‘F’ in gap closing to a ‘B’. They also had an ‘A’ in progress in all four areas of students as a building.”

GAP CLOSING

The “Gap Closing Component” shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for our most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math, and graduation. It also measures how schools are doing in helping English learners to become proficient in English.

In the gap closing component grade, Washington City Schools earned a “B” based on one section, annual measurable objectives (AMOs).

These AMOs compare the performance of each student group to the expected performance goals for that group to determine if gaps exist. A fourth AMO measures whether English Learners are making progress towards becoming proficient in English. The ultimate goal is for all groups to achieve at high levels.

In nearly all instances (English Language Arts, math and graduation) across the board based on any sub group (race, disability, economic disadvantage), the district met its goals. A few, including multiracial and students with disabilities came just under goal, but has continued to improve each year.

“These are all of our students that traditionally might not perform as well in a school setting,” Bailey said. “Obviously our largest sub-group is our economically disadvantaged group, but we have sub-group of students with disabilities, a sub-group in one school that is multiracial. We scored a ‘B’ in that component, which means we are growing all of our students across the board and we are really pleased with that.”

GRADUATION RATE

The “Graduation Rate Component” looks at the percent of students who are finishing high school with a diploma in four or five years.

In the graduation rate component grade, the district earned a “B” based on two sections, four-year and five-year graduation rate.

Compared to similar districts, this “B” grade is about the same as similar districts — though the district is still above the state average.

IMPROVING AT-RISK K-3 READERS

The “Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers Component” looks at how successful the school is at improving at-risk K-3 readers.

In the improving at-risk K-3 readers component grade, Washington City Schools earned an “NR” based on an “On Track” system.

According to the report card, 178 students started off track to ensure they are proficient in English Language Arts by the end of the third grade. The report card states that 60 students moved to “On Track” (or 33.7 percent). Additionally, 99.2 percent of third graders met the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements for promotion to fourth grade and 61.9 percent of third graders scored proficient on the state English Language Arts test.

Students have multiple opportunities to meet promotion requirements including meeting a minimum promotion score on the reading portion of the state’s third grade English language arts test given twice during the school year. Students have an additional opportunity to take the state assessment in the summer, as well as a district-determined alternative assessment.

PREPARED FOR SUCCESS

The “Prepared for Success Component” looks at how well prepared Ohio’s students are for all future opportunities.

In the prepare for success component, the district earned an “F” based on an indicator that tallies the number of ACT, SAT, AP and other exams taken and how well the student did. Additionally, the school can earn points for students who earned at least three college credits before leaving high school.

Out of a possible 307 points, the district earned 93.2 points. Of those, 77 points came from students that earned a remediation free score on all parts of the ACT or SAT, earned an honors diploma, and/or earned an industry-recognized credential. The last 16.2 points were earned by students who did the above and also earned a three or higher on at least one AP exam; earned a four or higher on at least one IB exam; and/or earned at least three college credits before leaving high school.

“I am really pleased with where we are at, we’ve come a long way since last year,” Bailey said. “We have a lot of strong areas that we have made significant improvement on. As you know I am really trying to change the culture and build the capacity within the district to raise these test scores, and make a huge difference in the lives of the students.”

The information in this article was provided by reportcard.education.ohio.gov and Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Tom Bailey.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

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By Martin Graham

mgraham@recordherald.com