2015-16 school report cards reflect testing changes


By Casey S. Elliott - celliott@civitasmedia.com



The 2015-16 school report cards continue the last couple years’ tradition of being in transition.

The Ohio Department of Education released the most recent school year’s report cards Thursday.

Champaign County schools, for the most part, saw grades that stayed the same or were lower than the 2014-15 report cards. There were a couple of exceptions in which grades improved significantly.

The state implemented new tests this year for some subjects, after a backlash from the tests taken for the 2014-15 school year. Some grades, such as the “Indicators Met” subcategory under Achievement, are difficult to compare because of the changes in tests, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said in a webinar Wednesday.

The new report cards also raise the proficiency level for passing, which can contribute to lower grades for some sections.

“Ohio has raised expectations for students to reflect what is necessary for them to be successful in college, careers and life,” DeMaria says in a press release. “This year’s report cards and the grades we’re seeing reflect a system in transition. They reflect new tests, higher achievement targets and more challenging expectations.”

Districts and schools are graded on six components – Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success. Prepared for Success is new this year, as are the component grades for each category.

“Improvement is happening and, with time, it will begin to show on the report cards,” DeMaria added. “There are many ways that parents and communities gauge the success and improvement of schools and districts. The report card is one of them. At the same time, we know schools and districts will use these report cards to have discussions about performance and make decisions about instruction and improvement strategies.”

The grades

The Achievement section measures student performance on state tests and the meeting of thresholds.

DeMaria said in the Wednesday webinar that it is difficult to compare grades in this category from 2014-15 to 2015-16, because as old tests are replaced by new, the indicators do not match.

“It’s fundamentally different, and more reflective of our higher expectations,” he said.

Graham Local Schools received a D grade for the category. It received an F for Indicators Met and a D for Performance Index, the same as the 2014-15 report cards.

Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools received a C grade for the section. Its grade for Indicators Met dropped from an A to an F. Its Performance Index score stayed at a C.

Triad Local Schools’ grade for the category is a C. Its grade for Indicators Met dropped from a B to a D, and its Performance Index grade remained at a C.

Urbana City Schools’ grade for the section is a D. Its Indicators Met grade dropped from a D to an F. Its Performance Index grade stayed a D.

West Liberty-Salem Local Schools received a B grade for the section. Its Indicators Met grade dropped from an A to a B. Its Performance Index grade stayed at a B.

The Progress section measures growth that all students are making based on past performance, and it is divided into subcategories of students.

This section measures “value-added” data, or how much growth a student makes in a given year. It is a measure that tends to be more useful the more years of data there are, education department Center for Accountability and Continuous Improvement Senior Executive Director Chris Woolard said in the Wednesday webinar. Since the 2015-16 report cards will only have one year of data from the new tests, it won’t be an ideal measure for progress for a couple more years.

Graham received a B grade for the category. Its Overall subcategory grade improved from an F to a C; its Gifted grade improved from a D to an A; its Lowest 20 Percent of Students grade improved from a C to a B; and its Students with Disabilities grade stayed a B.

Mechanicsburg’s grade for the category is a B. Its Overall grade improved from an F to a B. Its Gifted grade improved from a C to an A. Its Lowest 20 Percent of Students grade improved from an F to a C. And its Students with Disabilities grade improved from an F to an A.

Triad’s grade for the category is an A. Its Overall subcategory grade improved from a C to an A. Its Gifted grade improved from a C to a B. Its Lowest 20 Percent of Students grade improved from a D to an A. And its Students with Disabilities subgrade improved from a D to an A.

Urbana’s grade for the section is an F. Its grades dropped for all categories. Overall dropped from an A to an F; Gifted dropped from A to an F; Lowest 20 Percent of Students dropped from B to F; and Students with Disabilities dropped from A to F.

West Liberty-Salem’s grade for the category is an A. Grades in all of the subcategories improved. Overall increased from an F to an A; Gifted increased from a D to an A; Lowest 20 Percent of Students increased from an F to a B; and Students with Disabilities improved from a D to an A.

The Gap Closing section looks at “Annual Measurable Objectives” (AMO). AMO measures how student groups in the district or school compare to the state’s goal.

Graham, Mechanicsburg, Triad and Urbana all received F grades for the category. Graham and Urbana’s AMO grade remained the same as the prior report card, an F. Mechanicsburg and Triad’s grades for AMO both dropped from D to F.

West Liberty-Salem’s grade for the category is a C. Its AMO stayed the same with a C grade.

The Graduation Rate section looks at the percent of students who graduate from high school with a diploma in four or five years.

Graham received a C grade for the category. It received C grades for both four- and five-year graduation rates, the same as 2014-15.

Mechanicsburg’s grade for the category is an A. Its four-year graduation rate stayed the same, with an A grade; its five-year graduation rate dropped from an A to a B.

Triad’s grade for the section is a B. Its four-year grade stayed the same with a B, and its five-year graduation grade improved from a C to a B.

Urbana’s grade for the section is a B. Its four-year graduation rate grade stayed the same with a C. Its five-year graduation rate improved from a C to a B.

West Liberty-Salem’s section grade is an A. It’s four- and five-year grades stayed the same, both As.

The K-3 Literacy section looks at how well the school or district is getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and later.

Graham, Mechanicsburg, Triad and Urbana’s grades for the category were all F. Graham and Triad’s K-3 Literacy grade dropped from a D to an F; Urbana’s K-3 Literacy grade dropped from a B to an F.

Mechanicsburg’s K-3 Literacy grade went from an “NR” (not reported) to an F this year.

West Liberty-Salem’s grade for the section is a D. Its K-3 Literacy grade stayed a D.

The Prepared for Success section looks at how prepared students are for future opportunities. It measures college entrance exam remediation-free scores, honors diplomas, industry-recognized credentials, Advanced Placement test scores, International Baccalaureate test scores and College Credit Plus credits. This is the first year for a grade in this section.

Mechanicsburg and West Liberty-Salem received C grades for the section. Graham, Triad and Urbana received D grades.

Report cards for districts, individual school buildings, career technical schools and dropout recovery schools can be found at reportcard.education.ohio.gov.

By Casey S. Elliott

celliott@civitasmedia.com

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.