Grading the local school districts


MT receives ‘B’ grade, WCHCS a ‘C’ grade on local report cards

By Martin Graham - mgraham@recordherald.com



The State of Ohio Department of Education released district report cards this week and the two local school districts are continuing to see growth across the board.

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.

Overall, the Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) earned a “C” (same as last year) and Miami Trace Local Schools (MT) earned a “B” (up from a “C” last year).

In the coming weeks, each district will have the opportunity to dissect and examine particular portions of the scores. In the meantime, the Record-Herald wanted to share the general scores with the community from each section of the report card.

ACHIEVEMENT

Starting off, 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.

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.

On this component WCHCS earned a “D,” same as last year and MT earned a “C,” also the same as last year.

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.

This year WCHCS maintained its “A” grade in this component while MT maintained its “B” grade from last year.

WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey said this grade is good to see for the district as they have worked hard to continue student growth. He said that they were behind pretty significantly, but continuing to see this grade shows him that the students are growing.

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 this component, WCHCS held its “B” grade from last year and MT maintained its “A.” This component was another Bailey commented on, saying the grade staying consistent is good and shows that even those students who are part of their sub-groups (financially disadvantanged or even different student demographics) are continuing to grow.

GRADUATION RATE

The “Graduation Rate Component” looks at the percentage of students who are finishing high school with a diploma in four or five years. Though this is probably the more simple of the components to explain, it has nonetheless remained important for the districts year after year.

WCHCS maintained the “B” from their previous report card and MT was able to bring this grade back up to an “A” after earning a “B” last year.

Last year, Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis said the district was being punished on this grade for doing what is best for the children. He gave the example that students who are special needs have an option to defer graduation. In many cases that is the best thing for that child so that they can get further training and prepare them for success in the future. This unfortunately negatively impacts a district’s grade in this area.

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 this area, WCHCS improved from a no-rating (NR) to a “D” grade. MT maintained its “C” grade.

According to reportcard.education.ohio.gov, 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

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

In the prepare for success component, both districts earned an “F” again from last year 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.

For reference, 83 percent of districts in the state earned a “D” or “F” rating on this component. Last year, Miami Trace Assistant Superintendent Kim Pittser said they hoped discussions and changes in the state legislature would incorporate measures not limited to ACT scores, Honors Diplomas, AP tests scores, and College Credit Plus courses from students still in high school. She said if the purpose of this measure is to evaluate College and Career Readiness, additional options for career readiness would support all students and districts.

IN CONCLUSION

“My biggest take away and why I was pleased overall was that we picked up three indicators and we hadn’t earned any since the removal of the (Ohio Graduation Tests),” Bailey said. “It shows that we have had a lot of growth not only in academics but also in building relationships with the students. But I am pleased with our growth so far and we have more to do.”

“We are very pleased with our overall grade of a ‘B’ on the 2018-2019 state report card,” Lewis said. “Our staff and students worked extremely hard and should be proud of this accomplishment. We made improvements in many measurable areas and will continue to focus on areas that require further growth. Our staff has already begun the process of developing and implementing building level plans in response to last year’s data. I would like to thank all staff and students for their efforts each and every day. Although a letter grade on the state report card doesn’t completely define us as a district, it’s a valuable indicator of all the great things happening at Miami Trace.”

The information in this article was gathered from information on reportcard.education.ohio.gov. Stay with the Record-Herald for more information from the local school districts about the impact of the report card and how they will be working on their grades through next year.

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

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MT receives ‘B’ grade, WCHCS a ‘C’ grade on local report cards

By Martin Graham

mgraham@recordherald.com