Rocky Fork Enterprise

New letter-grade format

District scores mostly A's, B's on report card

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Gahanna-Jefferson schools received four A's, four B's and a C on the new state report card released Aug. 22 by the Ohio Department of Education.

Beth Spieth, the district's executive director of secondary curriculum and instruction, said district officials are pleased with the results.

"There are more elements than what we're used to," she said. "It will be more beneficial in the long run. It's a little confusing for those who don't know how the calculations are made. It gives us good information in smaller bites."

Prior report cards assessed schools and districts mostly on achievement test results and rated them using such descriptors as excellent or academic watch.

Gahanna-Jefferson schools were rated excellent last year -- the second-highest rating below excellent with distinction.

On the new report card, Gahanna earned an A in achievement and met all 24 state standards.

The district also earned an A in overall value-added, disabled value-added and lowest-20-percent value added.

Gahanna received a B for performance index, gifted value-added and five-year and four-year graduation rates.

The district's lowest mark, a C, was in annual measurable objectives.

"We're particularly pleased with the student growth, value-added," Spieth said. "That's what's important to us -- every student is making growth. The report shows our staff and administration are doing a great job of facilitating a rich learning environment. It's a validation of the quality education we're providing and the community and families are supporting."

She said the district's lowest grade is based on a comparison between last year's and this year's data.

"All these results are based on tests given once a year," she said. "It's the number or percentage of students who met a benchmark last year and this year. There's a specified target and a complicated formula to make the determination about how many points students get.

"Our goal is to always individualize instruction to meet individual student needs."

She said G-J is focused on ensuring that every student makes a year's worth of growth.

"That's what you see in the value-added piece," Spieth said. "We're pleased with those results. It shows our students are making at least a year's worth of growth. We will continue to focus on initiatives that got us to this point, showing we have effective practices."

Districts won't receive an overall letter grade until 2015.

In addition to using easier-to-understand letter grades, the new report-card system is designed to provide parents, taxpayers, school administrators and teachers with a more comprehensive view of the performance of schools and districts.

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