Receiving a perfect score on the state's 2007-08 Local Report Card -- and having the highest performance index score the district has ever scored -- was not enough to put the Hilliard City School District in the "excellent" status among Ohio schools.

Receiving a perfect score on the state's 2007-08 Local Report Card -- and having the highest performance index score the district has ever scored -- was not enough to put the Hilliard City School District in the "excellent" status among Ohio schools.

Superintendent Dale McVey said that the district met 30 of 30 indicators and had a performance index score (PIS) of more than 101.

A PIS of 100 or above indicates that a large percentage of the students scored within the highest performance levels of accelerated or advanced on state achievement testing, according to a news release issued by the school district.

Nevertheless, the district was rated "continuous improvement."

McVey describes it as frustrating when student successes are not acknowledged.

"I am extremely pleased and proud of the hard work of our students and staff to accomplish such success with this report card," said McVey. "As the ninth largest district in the state, ever growing in size and diversity, meeting all 30 indicators is exceptional. It really speaks to this district's commitment and determination to provide our students with the very best educational opportunities."

He said it is important to look at the numbers within the numbers.

All 21 schools in the district received a PIS of 94 or higher.

Fourteen of the schools were rated "excellent," while four were rated "effective" and three were rated "continuous improvement."

Avery, Britton, Hilliard Crossing and J.W. Reason elementary schools were the four "effective" rated schools, while Alton Darby and Horizon elementary schools and Memorial Middle School were rated "continuous improvement."

The district consists of more than 15,000 students and serves about 1,000 English Language Learners from 45 different countries and speaking 35 different languages.

"We have the seventh largest English Language Learner population in the state of Ohio," said McVey.

More than 2,300 economic disadvantage students are served in the district along with 1,800 special needs students.

"What we have found in looking at our results from the 2007-2008 school year continually more and more of our students are passing these tests at the advanced and accelerated levels," said McVey. "That ultimately is extremely important to this district. Our expectation is that students will become proficient. We work very hard to ensure that (goes) beyond proficient."

Assistant Superintendent Andy Riggle said they looked at how the district performed as a whole in each of the different assessments.

"We try to dissect those assessment results down to individual strands," he said.

Once they narrow it down to written, data analysis or measurement in math, for example, then they can provide improvements in the courses of study and professional development.

Last year, the two indicators missed out of 30 were related to social studies, but they were met this year.

"We believe that really paid off," said Riggle.

Students are also being assessed more often.

Significant gains within the subgroups, according to McVey, have been made within the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) portion of the report card.

"Not significant enough in the eyes of state officials to have met AYP," he said. "So although we have met every indicator, although we have a PIS that exceeds any index score we have ever received since they have been received by districts for five years now, in the eyes of the state with their flawed rating system, we will receive a rating of continuous improvement."

McVey said he does not see the rating as a measurement of the students or staff.

"I think that it is punitive to those students within each of those 10 subgroups," he said, including American Indian with numbers minimal in almost every district of Ohio, "and the success they have demonstrated for these assessments."

States independently determine the rating system.

One hundred percent of the students in the Hilliard schools are proficient under the No Child Left Behind provisions, but not according to the state.

McVey describes the system as a "snapshot in time" of student performance.

"It is a very important snapshot," he said. "I don't want to understate that, but I also want to make sure we always understand the context. It's a very important piece, but it is not the only measurement of success."

He said he thinks the district measures up very well in providing opportunities for students and it ultimately requires hard work on the part of the students, staff and school community.