State grades considered with eye toward continuing improvement

ARCANUM – Arcanum-Butler Superintendent John Stephens said he didn’t know how meaningful the state report card grades really were this year, but they would be taken into consideration as part of the school’s ongoing improvement plans.

Arcanum-Butler scored a C for the performance index for the 2014-15 school year, a solid result since all of the Darke County Schools landed in the B and C range for the year. Arcanum scored a B in indicators met.

The performance index measures how many students passed the state tests, and the indicators met measures how well they did on the tests.

“I’m not one to make excuses,” Stephens said. “We’re going to own our own data.”

Stephens cautioned, however, that the data might be misleading because of frequent changes to the state testing over the past several years.

“I think it’s fair to acknowledge that we’re comparing apples to oranges here,” Stephens said. “They’re testing the same standards, but they formats, test suppliers and criteria have change.”

As a result, it’s been difficult to chart the real progress in the school’s efforts.

“We try to look for trends but can’t because of the changes,” he said. “We need to look at student progress and growth over the years. All we can do is own our own data, and use that data to continue ongoing discussions about moving forward. This year we have a ‘continuing improvement’ plan just like every year.”

Arcanum-Butler earned the following state report card grades:

• Achievement: performance index, 78.6 percent, or C; indicators met, 84.4 percent, or B;

• Progress (value-added, math and reading, students grade 4-8): overall, C; gifted, C; students with disabilities, B; lowest 20 percent in achievement, C;

• Gap Closing (is every student succeeding regardless of income, race, ethnicity or disability – annual measurable objectives): 66.7 percent, or D.

The passage rate for students was as follows:

• Third grade: math, 65.3 percent; reading, 78.7 percent;

• Fourth grade: math, 57.5 percent; reading, 72.5 percent; social studies, 63.5 percent;

• Fifth grade: math, 76.9 percent; reading, 87 percent; science, 81.8 percent;

• Sixth grade: math, 85.4 percent; reading, 82.9 percent; social studies, 65.9 percent;

• Seventh grade: math, 70.1 percent; reading, 74.7 percent;

• Eighth grade: math, 30.8 percent; reading, 63.2 percent; science, 75.9 percent;

• 10th grade, Ohio Graduation Test: math, 89.9 percent; reading, 91 percent; science, 88.6 percent; social studies, 88.6 percent; writing, 89.9 percent;

• 11th grade, OGT: math, 95 percent; reading, 96 percent; science, 94 percent; social studies, 97 percent; and writing, 93.9 percent.

Arcanum-Butler spent 70.1 percent of its funding in 2014-15 on classroom instruction, ranking 37 out of 276 similar districts for classroom instruction spending. Spending per student was $8,237 per student, below the state average of $9,228.

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By Rachel Lloyd

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