The recent release of the Ohio Department of Education state report cards is causing concern in school districts across the state because many of this year’s scores are lower than in prior years.
Even though schools are seeing local improvement on many fronts, the results were not entirely unexpected since students are being judged against new, higher state standards.
The report cards reveal that all schools in Scioto County are struggling with at least one or more of these standards.
“The results were what we, and I’m sure many other districts across the state, expected,” said Portsmouth’s Superintendent Scott Dutey. “When you receive three different tests in three different years and new measures, it adds to the difficulties.”
Portsmouth City School District received an F for Gap Closing and D’s in Achievement, K-3 Literacy, Progress and Preparedness for Success, the highest score was a C in Graduation Rates.
“Right now, it’s a mess. I can tell you there are a lot of superintendents and lots of Boards of Education across the state trying to get the attention of legislature,” said Dutey. “State-wide we have a lot of work to do. No more new standards, no more new tests, no changing the expected outcomes for each test. Just give us a break, let us do our jobs and the schools will start achieving again.”
This is the third year in a row that students are being presented with different test and varying standards.
Districts need adequate time to properly prepare for such transitions. School board members and administrators have expressed legitimate concerns about the report card methodology and measures. They’re also concerned that the report card tells only part of the story.
“To truly gauge progress, it’s important to take a holistic look at student and district achievement,” said OSBA President Eric K. Germann, a school board member at Lincolnview Local Schools and Vantage Career Center in Van Wert County. “The report card is just one component. Many other factors, including job, college and military placement, scholarships awarded, the arts and community service must be part of the overall picture of student success.”
Schools are scored on six standards — Achievement, Gap Closing, Kindergarten through Third Grade Literacy, Progress, Graduation Rate, and Preparedness for Success.
The Achievement component represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them. State-wide more than 50 percent of the districts and 60 percent of the schools received a D or an F on this indicator.
Gap Closing shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable populations of students in English, Arts, Math and Graduation rates, 86 percent of the school districts in the state received an F on this measure including every district in Scioto and Lawrence counties.
The K-3 literacy component looks at how successful the school is getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in third grade and beyond.
Progress is measured by looking at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances. More than one-third of the districts across the state received a D or an F.
The Graduation Rate component looks at the percent of students who are successfully finishing high school with a diploma in four or five years. Between 85 and 90 percent of the schools met this indicator, with getting 90 percent of their students to graduate.
And the last standard, Preparedness for Success, judges how well prepared Ohio students are for all future opportunities, whether going into the workforce, training in a vocational field, or preparing for college. More than half the schools in the state received a D or an F on this measure.
To view district report cards, go online to www.reportcard.education.ohio.gov
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.