Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools received a better report card than expected when official results for the 2007-08 school year were released early this week.

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools received a better report card than expected when official results for the 2007-08 school year were released early this week.

In bottom-line terms, the report rated the district as "effective," meeting 25 of 30 standards.

Local school officials were concerned the district might fall to a "continuous improvement" ranking by failing to meet AYP (adequate yearly progress) standards for three student subgroups. When the official report card came out, however, Gahanna-Jefferson failed to meet the mark for only one of the subgroups, according to assistant superintendent Mark White.

District officials were originally told the district did not meet AYP for economically disadvantaged students, students with individual education plans and students with limited English proficiency.

"Then they kicked in the 'value-added' model," he said. "That is a complicated process (the state) uses to measure student growth. We were growing in two of those (subgroup) areas."

Because of progress made in reading and math with economically disadvantaged students and limited English-proficient students, White said, the district was raised from a rating of continuous improvement to effective.

Despite achieving a better than expected grade card, he said, the district continues to look for effective teaching strategies to help all students.

"We are committed to improvement," he said.

AYP measures the achievement of all demographic groups in a school or district. The value-added measurement shows whether students learn a year's worth of material for a year of instruction.

To meet state indicators on elementary and middle school level tests, at least 75 percent of the students must score at the proficient level or above.

Gahanna students missed their marks in five areas. In fifth-grade tests, 67.7 percent of students were proficient in math, 72.9 percent in social studies and 74.4 percent in science. In eighth-grade tests, 59.5 percent were proficient in social studies and 72.3 percent proficient in science.

"We will be focusing very heavily on fifth and eighth grade, helping more of our students be more successful at those grade levels," White said. "From what we are seeing, a number of districts struggled in those grade levels with those particular tests."

White said district officials were particularly pleased with scores on some of the third-grade, fourth-grade and high school tests.

"All the way through we had some high scores," he said. "I'm proud of our district."

The district is committed to meeting all 30 state indicators, White said.

For the 2005-06-school year the district was ranked "excellent" on the report card. White said the state keeps raising the standards, tightening the requirements to meet the indicators and satisfy AYP.

"These are not the same standards we used two years ago," he said. "Districts around the nation are struggling with (this)."

The tests are meant to be more challenging, White said.

While some districts teach the test, White said Gahanna schools strive to teach students to the best of their ability so they will be ready for the tests.

The district is student-driven, not ratings-driven, he said.

"If enough do well than the rankings will take care of themselves," he said.

This year's graduation rate was 94.9 percent, which is on par with the last few years. White said Gahanna has been averaging about 95 percent a year. The district is adding an alternative school to assist students who might be struggling.

One of the challenges is to help students who are struggling while at the same time reaching and challenging those students who are at the top of their class, White said.

"No one is left behind," White said. "We are pushing all students forward."

Chapelfield, High Point, Middle School East and Gahanna Lincoln High School were ranked excellent. Blacklick, Jefferson, Lincoln and Royal Manor elementary schools and Middle School South and West were ranked effective and Goshen Lane continuous improvement for the fourth year in a row.