EDS NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles on local school district’s 2015-2016 Ohio Department of Education report cards.
PITSBURG — The Franklin Monroe School District recently received its “report card” from the State of Ohio. By the numbers, the report shows a mixed bag, with the district receiving a “C” grade for overall achievement.
However, a “C” grade in achievement, or any other test indicator, does not truly reflect the intelligence or effort of the Franklin Monroe student body, according to Superintendent Jeff Patrick.
“It’s very difficult to understand the algorhythms they use to come up with the aggregate grades. If it’s hard for people inside education to understand, it’s even harder for us to explain to the general public,” he explained.
As an example, Patrick pointed to an “F” the school received in the “Gap Closing” assessment, which the state says “shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for our most vulnerable populations of students in English, language arts, math and graduation.”
“There are 608 school districts in the state. 526 of them received an ‘F,’” said Patrick. “There seems to be a little problem with the mathematical equation for that many schools to get that score. If you were an algebra teacher and gave 608 students a test, and 526 of them got an ‘F,’ that’s a test that needs thrown out. There’s a problem with that assessment.”
“For the most part, the data is what it is,” said Patrick. “Overall, I’m happy with where the school is at. However, we don’t just use the report card. There are a lot more factors we take into consideration.”
“We focus on the curriculum and what should be taught, instead of teaching toward the test,” he added. “We’re not going to break the law, we will give the students the test. But it’s pretty bad data on the assessment that these schools go through. You can’t tell me 526 schools are that bad.”
In “Progress,” which measures “growth that all students are making based on their past performances,” FM received a “B.” In “K-3 Literacy” and “Prepared for Success” assessments, the district got “C” grades. FM’s 4-year graduation rate of 98.1 percent earned the district an “A” grade.
Patrick addressed the graduation rates, not only for Franklin Monroe, but for surrounding school districts.
“If you look at the graduation rates in Darke County, Miami County, and even Preble County, they’re good,” he said. “I think we’re doing a good job getting kids through high school, getting them a diploma. I think all the schools in the Darke County area are doing a good job getting kids to walk across that stage.”
“Overall, we look good. The elementary grades, 3 through 6, look very good in comparison to surrounding counties,” he said.
Patrick said the time dedicated to state testing is time which could be better used on regular classroom instruction.
“Yes, without a doubt. It’s a nightmare. Especially in the middle school and high school grades,” he said. “It takes a lot of time. And it not only affects the kids at the time of testing, but could affect an entire class.”
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