The Big Walnut Local School District earned an "excellent" rating for the sixth consecutive year on its Ohio Department of Education report card.

The Big Walnut Local School District earned an "excellent" rating for the sixth consecutive year on its Ohio Department of Education report card.

Districts can be given a rating of "excellent with distinction," "excellent," "effective," "continuous improvement," "academic watch" and "academic emergency."

"As a district, we were able to achieve at high levels and make improvements, specifically in our performance index, with a reduced day and less electives. It's a tribute to our staff and students," Assistant Superintendent Gary Barber said.

The report card is based on the district students' performance on state-required achievement and graduation tests taken during the 2010-11 school year.

The performance index is a tally of point values given to the five student performance levels - advanced, accelerated, proficient, basic or limited - for all tests in grades three through eight and grade 10.

Big Walnut met all 26 of the report card indicators. The indicators are based on various measures, including the district's performance on the Ohio Achievement Tests and the Ohio Graduation Test.

Each district school building also receives a rating.

Souders earned "excellent with distinction" for the third year.

Big Walnut Elementary earned "excellent with distinction," up from last year's "effective" rating.

For its first year of operation, General Rosecrans Elementary earned "effective."

Barber said the elementary schools went through redistricting last year, which changed the student populations at each.

Big Walnut Middle School earned "excellent" for the second year.

Big Walnut High School received an "effective" rating, down from "excellent," which it's held since the 2002-03 school year.

The biggest factor in the high school rating is that the federal requirement for showing adequate yearly progress (AYP) in achievement scores has increased from 77 to 85 percent, Barber said, noting it will continue to increase until it reaches 100 percent.

AYP, a mandate of federal No Child Left Behind legislation, sets goals for reading and math proficiency, test participation, attendance rates and graduation rates, ODE documents show.

The district did not meet AYP with students who are economically disadvantaged and with students with disabilities.

Barber said district officials are looking closely at ways to meet the AYP goals.

The report card shows 18.8 percent of the district's students are economically disadvantaged and 13.7 percent have disabilities.

In 1999, Senate Bill 55 led to the first local report cards being released for accountability purposes, according to the Ohio Department of Education's website.

The report cards for the district and the individual buildings can be viewed on the ODE website at www.ode.state.oh.us. Select the menu link "Accountability."

Under the drop-down menu select "State/Local Report Card."

The link "Ohio Report Cards" provides access to the site for searching by district and school building.