Bexley City Schools Superintendent Mike Johnson blames a change in the calculation of this year's performance index on the state report card as the reason for its less-than-perfect report card.
The Ohio Department of Education released its latest state report card data Aug. 22, unveiling a report card that included changes in both look and content.
Because of the public's anticipation -- and a little hype on the part of state -- ODE's website crashed just moments after the new report card's release under a sudden onslaught of visitors. It took a couple of days to get back to normal.
Those viewing Bexley's results saw the district did not fare as well as it has in the past, at least on paper. But last week's news came as no surprise to district officials.
Johnson made the prediction earlier last week that Bexley would likely fall slightly in its report card rating, even though performance levels are just as high as they were last year -- if not higher.
According to the data, the Bexley City School district received four A's, four B's, and one C.
The state is releasing letter grades in nine areas beginning this year, but will eventually work up to a more comprehensive report card with an overall letter grade assigned to each school and district by 2015.
If averaged together, Bexley's letter grades would give the district an overall B, a one-step drop down from last year's "excellent with distinction" rating.
Despite earning its highest-ever performance index score -- a 106.2 -- the district dropped one rating because of the measurement, according to Johnson. The performance index measure calculates the success of every student by awarding points for each level of achievement on the state tests.
"The only reason for Bexley going from "excellent with distinction" (an A-plus grade) under the old report card system to a B-plus grade with the new report card matrix is the eight-point increase in the performance index threshold -- from 100 to 108," Johnson said.
"The threshold was 100 out of 120; now it is 108 out of 120, or 90 percent of 120."
Under the new system, a 106.2 is a B, or 88.5 percent of the overall 120 score.
Bexley received an A in its overall value-added score. The value-added measure rewards districts for helping students grow academically, even if they are not yet reaching state benchmarks.
But Bexley did not fare so well in individual value-added categories, earning a B for gifted students, a B for disabled students, and a C for the lowest 20 percent performing students.
The district received two As for its four-year (95.3 percent) and five-year (99 percent) graduation rates.
Bexley met all 24 of the state testing benchmarks, earning it an A in that area.
In a new area of measurement called annual measurable objectives, Bexley received a B rating. AMO measures achievement levels of all students regardless of income, race, culture and other demographics. AMO is similar to the former adequate yearly progress measurement.
Even though the ink is barely dry on the latest data report, Johnson already is setting his sights on next year's report card. The district plans to continue to work to reduce the percentage of students performing at the lowest end of the spectrum, Johnson said this week, while increasing the percentage of students at the upper end of the spectrum in order to regain its A rating.
Johnson is expected to bring a proposal to the school board this month for a comprehensive after-school intervention program to help the lowest performing students in the district. A free summer-school program has been in place for three years, Johnson added, but may need to be better aligned to daily teaching content.
The district also is in the process of evaluating its gifted program, which Johnson admitted might be too restrictive, while bringing more enrichment to all students.
"History shows that we are making incremental gains each year," said Johnson, and pledged this week to set a new performance index goal of 108 for the next school year.
For a complete, interactive look at the new report card, visit education.ohio.gov and follow the prompts.