Dublin Villager

Simulated grades provide example of new state report card

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Dublin City Schools pulled seven A's, one B and one C on the 2011-12 state report card, according to a simulation of a new state grading process released by the Ohio Department of Education last week.

Starting in August, the state report card will carry letter grades rather than ratings such as "excellent" or "continuous improvement" and the ODE last week released preliminary information about the new rating system.

In August 2013, the state report card will give districts and schools grades in nine different measures, but there will be no overall grades for districts or schools until 2015.

Two measurements, K-3 literacy and prepared for success, were not included on the simulation but will be included on the report card in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The simulations that are subject to change gave Dublin City School District an A in performance indicators, four-year graduation rate, five-year graduation rate, value added, value added for gifted students, value added for the lowest 20 percent of students and value added for students with disabilities.

For performance index, the district earned a B and in annual measurable objectives a C.

"Generally I would say people need to be very careful in taking stake in simulations," Superintendent David Axner said.

"This is a new scoring mechanism and what has happened is they released the way the scoring mechanism will work on data almost two years old now."

Axner is anxious to see more recent scores plugged into the new ratings as well as some other details for the new system.

"There are categories we still haven't seen how (grades) will be calculated," he said.

"For annual measurable objectives, we're still waiting to see the way that will be calculated. We're more interested in dissecting the definition of each category."

Some of the measurements being graded by the state with letter grades exist on the most current report card released early this year.

Performance indicators, for example, measure how many students score proficient or better on state tests. The performance index score measures how well every student does on state tests.

Value added measures how much students progress from year to year by all students and in different groups.

Annual measurable objectives, however, is new.

According to information from ODE, the measurement shows any gap in achievements between different student demographics.

With the release of simulation grades for districts across the state, ODE is hoping to gain feedback and Axner said Dublin is happy to give it.

The district also will focus on educating the community on the new measurements and grades.

"The other piece is we are trying to prepare the community as they need to understand we're getting more curriculum and more rigorous testing system and the new reporting mechanism has raised the bar," Axner said.

"With the performance index score, we got a B, but we had one of the highest (scores) in the state."

With new, tougher measurements ahead, Axner is not expecting many top scores for districts across the state in August.

"There won't be many A's," he said. "They made that much more difficult to do."

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