ARCANUM — The Ohio Department of Education has released school district report cards, including those evaluating eight school districts in Darke County, and Arcanum-Butler Schools received an overall grade of B.
School Report Cards are designed to give parents, communities, educators and policymakers information about the performance of districts and schools in order to celebrate success and identify areas for improvement, according to the ODE website. The information presented helps identify schools that need more intensive public support and provides data on student performance in areas such as graduation rate and college and career readiness. The goal is to ensure equitable outcomes for all of Ohio’s students.
Districts evaluated receive an overall letter grade, as well as individual grades on up to six separate components.
“We knew what the program measures were going to be, so we figured we’d be in the B to C range,” Superintendent John Stephens said. “We use the report card as a reference point – as one piece of information about how we’re doing. We like to look at trends: what are some positive trends, and what are some things we need to improve on? The report card tells a little bit of that story but not the whole story.”
The Prepared for Success component measures whether a significant number of students have received training in a technical field, become prepared for work or college or are generally well-prepared for all future opportunities. The district received a rating of D on this component. The report found that only about 42 percent of graduates earned a remediation-free score on all parts of the ACT or SAT, received an honors diploma or earned an industry-recognized credential while only about 55 percent participated in the ACT or SAT at all.
“That one is a bit of a challenge, one that we’ve been working on for the past few years,” Stephens said. “Not all of our students plan to go to college, but whatever their future plans, we want to see their best on the ACT or SAT. So we’re going to work to continue to improve that, and we hope to see an increase.”
The Achievement Component represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall. Arcanum received a rating of C on this measure. The report showed fewer than 80 percent of third, fourth, sixth and eighth-grade students passing tests in English and math. Fifth-graders also performed poorly in math while fewer than 80 percent of high schoolers passed tests in algebra, U.S. history, biology or geometry.
Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, meanwhile, ensures that students are successful in reading before moving on to fourth grade. It was found that 89 third graders in the district started the year below this standard, of which about 39 percent were able to meet the standard by the end of the year.
The district has plans to combat these lower scores, according to Stephens, including the Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plan Program, in which students, including those considered “at risk” work in small groups with teachers.
“This helps them to specifically hone in on what individual students need to improve on,” Stephens said. “Some of our students are more than one year behind, so we need to make sure those on the cusp of being able to pass are getting the proper help and intervention.”
Arcanum received an A on Progress, which measures growth students are making based on past performance. Still, the report showed sixth and eighth graders making less than the expected amount of progress in English language arts while seventh graders made less progress in math. The measure found good progress among students identified as gifted, however, giving the district a grade of A in that regard.
Finally, the district received a B on Gap Closing, which measures how well schools are meeting performance expectations for vulnerable students in areas such as English language arts, math, graduation rate and English language proficiency, and an A, specifically, on Graduation Rate.
“If we’re doing the right things, then whatever report card the state of Ohio chooses to go with, our students should be able to succeed,” Stephens said. “We’d like to be able to say that we got all As and Bs on our report card, so that continues to be our goal.”