The Canal Winchester Times

Canal Winchester

School district does well in most report card areas

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Canal Winchester schools received high marks on most of the areas of the new state report card released Aug. 22 by the Ohio Department of Education.

The new state report card, which will be phased in over several years, now uses a letter grading system to rate the performance of schools and school districts.

In the past, the report cards primarily evaluated how students did on state achievement tests, and while that is still a major measure, the ODE website indicates that the scores will be viewed in a "different way" and will help determine if a student is ready for college.

The report cards released last week gave letter grades in various categories, but districts will not receive overall letter grades until 2015.

Canal Winchester schools met 22 of 24 achievement test indicators for an A in standards met for the 2012-13 school year. The district earned a 100.3 performance index score for a letter grade of B. The district received a B for its four-year graduation rate, an A for its five-year graduation rate and an overall value-added grade of A.

Canal Winchester schools earned a C in the gifted student subcategory for value-added, a C in the subcategory of lowest 20 percent in achievement and a D in the students with disabilities subcategory.

The district's gap-closing score was a D.

Canal Winchester Board of Education members discussed the results on the revamped state report card at their Aug. 19 meeting.

Director of Curriculum Janine Taylor said in order to receive credit for an indicator, students in grades 3-10 must score at least 75 percent on the exams; students in grade 11 must pass by 85 percent.

"We missed both science indicators in fifth grade and the eighth grade," Taylor said. "We have historically made those science indicators, so we will have to examine what changed last year."

In terms of the performance index, the district scored 100.3 out of a possible 120 points. The performance index looks at how many students in the district have a minimum or proficient level of knowledge. Those achievement tests rank a student's knowledge from "limited" to "advanced-plus."

The district now will receive two separate grades for its graduation rates. The four-year graduation rate, according to the ODE, counts students who entered ninth grade for the first time and graduated within four years. The five-year rate includes students who received their diplomas within five years of entering high school.

"It's the first B we've ever had. We typically earn A's in this category," Taylor said.

Director of Data and Assessment William Whitlatch reviewed Canal Winchester's 2013 gap-closing report with the board.

Gap-closing, which measures the academic performance of 10 specific groups of students, is a new element on the state report card. It replaces the adequate yearly progress evaluation that assessed the same group of students according to race and demographics.

Reading and math scores for students in these 10 groups are compared to the statewide annual measurable objectives.

According to the ODE website, points are earned "based on how the district compared to the AMO, to their results last year (improvement), and to how far they were from meeting the AMO (the 'gap')."

There is also a standard for graduation rates for the subgroups.

The points are than averaged to obtain a letter grade; however, if specific minimum performance requirements are not met, the state can reduce a district's letter grade.

The Canal Winchester district scored 69.3 percent for a preliminary grade of D in gap-closing.

According to Whitlatch, part of the district's goals will be to zero in on each subgroup by grade level and figure out what can be done to improve their scores.

The state also is raising the bar for its assessments in the 2014-2015 school year, requiring districts to measure the reading ability of students in grades K-3.

The K-3 Literacy Improvement measure will not be on the report card until August 2014. It reviews how well districts are helping students who fall below the mark when it comes to reading.

The measure corresponds to the third-grade reading guarantee; students who do not meet the standard will be held back.

"The goal is to get these boys and girls caught up in reading as soon as possible," Superintendent Jim Sotlar said.

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