Although the state's official release of school district report cards Feb. 28 carried no surprises for Bexley, officials still were pleased their students' achievements are finally on the books.
The Ohio Department of Education released official report card last week, some six months late. The delay was the result of the ongoing investigation by state Auditor David Yost into alleged irregularities in the reporting of student attendance by school districts throughout the state. Those districts included Columbus City Schools.
Bexley was rated "excellent with distinction" on the 2011-12 report card, meeting requirements for all 26 indicators.
According to the data, which normally is released in late August, students in Bexley passed all testing areas of the Ohio Achievement Assessments -- meeting all 24 respective indicators on the state report card.
The district came in well above the state's graduation benchmark with a 98.4 percent graduation rate.
Bexley also ranked high in the "value-added" growth category. Bexley City Schools scored "above" the benchmark, which means students in the district are growing in terms of learning, on average, more than a year at a time.
Value-added is a calculation of the growth, or progress, that each individual student makes on academic tests from year to year. The progress of each student, as opposed to a one-time "snapshot," is what is used to assess the effectiveness of a school or district.
Bexley also met the Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, standard, according to the data released last week. AYP measures reading and math proficiency within a number of subgroups, including English language learners and students with disabilities. If a district does not meet the standard in even one subgroup, it does not receive credit for AYP on the state report card.
Of particular note, said Superintendent Michael Johnson, are the large numbers of Bexley High School students who are performing beyond proficiency, at the highest levels. For example, in reading, 90.9 percent of girls and 79.3 percent of boys are performing at accelerated and advanced levels.
In math, 87.9 percent of girls and 85.4 percent of boys are performing at accelerated and advanced levels.
On the flip side, Johnson said Bexley's high levels of performance have a somewhat negative impact on another area of the state's report card: the value-added measure. When students already are performing well beyond expectations, he said, it becomes more difficult for them to demonstrate a full year's growth for every year of schooling.
"This kind of performance suppresses our value-added ranking when compared other school districts," said Johnson, explaining how Bexley landed at No. 116 out of the more than 800 Ohio school districts in the new rankings related to value-added.
Each of Bexley's schools held its own on the 2011-12 Performance Index measure, based on the average of all students' test scores at that school. If every student scored at the advanced level, the Performance Index would be 120. Two Bexley elementary schools have been steadily increasing their Performance Index scores, with Montrose moving from 102.2 in 2010-11 to 104.6 this year, and Cassingham going from 107.2 to 107.6.
Almost 90 percent of Bexley's third-graders reached at least the proficient level in reading, an area that has been under intense scrutiny as the state implements its Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.
"The percentage of our third-graders who need reading support has decreased over the past three years," Johnson said.
That means there are fewer than 20 Bexley children who would need the specific types of interventions that administrators understand will be required when the guarantee goes into effect.