Tri-Village News

School attendance scandal

Auditor's review: No foul play in Grandview

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In the wake of concerns about how some Ohio school district reported their data, the Grandview Heights City School District voluntarily invited the state auditor's office to visit last week and review Grandview's attendance information.

As expected, the review showed Grandview had accurately reported its data, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

But Grandview will have to wait along with everyone else before receiving its final 2011-12 state report card.

The Ohio Board of Education earlier this month unanimously voted to postpone the release of the report cards until questions about the accuracy of attendance data reported by local school districts are resolved.

The report cards had been scheduled to be released Wednesday, Aug. 29. No indication has been given as to when the report cards will be released.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Columbus City Schools had doctored attendance data to improve their report card results, and State Auditor Dave Yost is investigating other school districts to determine if they manipulated data.

"While I understand the concern the state has with their desire to ensure the data is accurate, I am disappointed that those of us that are willing to certify the accuracy of our data are forced to wait for our results," O'Reilly said.

The district already anticipates, based on preliminary results from 2011-12 Ohio achievement and graduation tests, that it will almost certainly meet all 26 standards on the report card and earn at least an "excellent" rating.

The state's delay in releasing the final report card means the district must wait to find out whether its value-added rating indicates its student growth in academics was above what is expected to occur over one year.

"That is the critical piece for determining whether we earn an 'excellent with distinction' rating," O'Reilly said. "If it's above expectations, we would earn 'excellent with distinction.' "

The district already knows its performance index score increased by a full point, "which is tough to do," he said.

The state report card "does give you data to talk to your staff about," O'Reilly said, but "we already know where our students were successful and where students weren't successful and we're starting to look at how we can improve.

"I think our community always likes to hear how we are doing in comparison to other school districts," he said, "but the state report card is not the be all and end all.

"In the big picture of our operations, the state report card truly does not reflect the level of education our students receive," O'Reilly said. "It is a snapshot of 26 tests given at a point in time during the school year.

"If the state truly hopes to report on the effectiveness of our schools, there is a need to develop a more comprehensive measure," he said.

It is difficult to take a one-size-fits-all measurement tool and apply it to schools throughout the state that have significant differences in their resources and the challenges they face, O'Reilly said.

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