State report cards questioned


By Rachel Lloyd - rlloyd@aimmedianetwork.com



COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Education has now released the second part of the 2014-15 state report card results, which show results for the seven different areas not included in January’s report; however, at least one legislator and a state board of education member are telling people to ignore the report cards this year.

Many area superintendents and school district personnel have noted that the report cards are not accurate because students who opted out of the testing – which was permitted last year – were reported with zeros for their test results. Others noted technical problems in taking the online tests, as well as “test fatigue” from the long hours required for all of the testing.

State Rep. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, who serves as ranking minority member on the House Education Committee, said in a press release, “Every grade on these report cards is tainted by unverified, arbitrary, poorly designed and implemented tests that have been thrown out by the Ohio legislature. The flaws are so pervasive that the grades on the Ohio School Report Cards should not be counted for anything. The state calls it a safe harbor, which should lead one to question: why are there report cards at all?”

State Board of Education member A.J. Wagner said the grades being reported are beyond faulty.

“These report cards are not just inaccurate, they are harmful to our children, our schools and our communities,” Wagner said.

The interim state superintendent acknowledged scores would be lower on this report card, but he cited higher standards as the primary reason.

“Ohio parents need to know how well our schools are preparing their students to succeed in college and their careers,” said Dr. Lonny J. Rivera, interim state superintendent of public instruction. “Ohio’s annual report cards show how our schools are doing and where they can improve.”

Some districts may see lower report card grades on some measures this year because Ohio has raised expectations for what its students must learn in the classroom, introducing rigorous learning standards and new state tests to match those standards, according to the official state board press release.

“We’ve long expected that grades might decline as we began to raise the bar for our students and schools,” Rivera said. “We believe both teachers and students will take steps to adjust to the new standards and tests.”

Nearly 99 percent of Ohio students took state tests last year. Even with the vast majority of student participation, the department of education will show district Performance Index grades with and without students who participated in state tests.

Last summer, Ohio lawmakers passed a provision calling for a “safe harbor” to give students and schools time to adjust to the new standards and tests.

During this safe harbor, districts will not include student progress as part of teacher evaluations unless districts and teachers agree to use the data. Schools also will not use student test scores to hold students back, except for meeting high school graduation requirements and scores on the state’s third grade reading test. State results for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee will be released in the coming months, as in the past.

Districts and schools were graded on 10 measures of effectiveness for the 2014-15 school year. The department previously released grades on three of the 10 measures in January: graduation rates, K-3 literacy improvement and how well prepared graduates are for college. Those results were published in the Daily Advocate Jan. 18.

The most recent report card looks at student progress during the 2014-15 school year, student achievement on state tests and whether schools are reducing achievement and graduation gaps affecting populations such as minority, English language learning and economically disadvantaged students.

Users can find the grades and other data for all schools and districts, including community and other schools, at reportcard.education.ohio.gov. The Daily Advocate will publish a detailed breakdown of the report cards for individual districts in the coming days.

A summary of the report card follows, for Achievement (how many students passed the test and how well they performed on the test), Progress (improvement in math and reading, grades 4-8), and Gap closing (reading, math and graduation rates across the board):

Greenville City

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – D

• Progress: Overall – F; Gifted – F; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – F; Students with disabilities – F

• Gap closing: F

Ansonia Local

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – A

• Progress: Overall – A; Gifted – Not reported; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – C; Students with disabilities – B

• Gap closing: C

Versailles Exempted Village

• Achievement: Performance index – B; Indicators met – A

• Progress: Overall – A; Gifted – A; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – C; Students with disabilities – D

• Gap closing: C

Arcanum-Butler Local

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – B

• Progress: Overall – C; Gifted – C; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – C; Students with disabilities – B

• Gap closing: D

Tri-Village Local

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – D

• Progress: Overall – B; Gifted – D; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – B; Students with disabilities – F

• Gap closing: D

Franklin Monroe Local

• Achievement: Performance index – B; Indicators met – A

• Progress: Overall – F; Gifted – F; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – F; Students with disabilities – F

• Gap closing: B

Mississinawa Valley Local

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – D

• Progress: Overall – A; Gifted – A; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – C; Students with disabilities – C

• Gap closing: B

Bradford Exempted Village (Miami County)

• Achievement: Performance index – C; Indicators met – D

• Progress: Overall – A; Gifted – NR; Lowest 20 percent in achievement – A; Students with disabilities – B

• Gap closing: F

By Rachel Lloyd

rlloyd@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/Advocate360 or visit our website at www.dailyadvocate.com.

Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/Advocate360 or visit our website at www.dailyadvocate.com.