Hilliard City Schools officials say it is likely the district will earn the highest possible rating of "Excellent with Distinction" when the Ohio Department of Education releases its final state report card grades later this school year.
The ODE released more preliminary results Sept. 26 to augment the preliminary information given to school districts in July. The final results are still on hold as the ODE works with State Auditor Dave Yost to investigate allegations of tampering with student-attendance data against Columbus City Schools, Toledo Public Schools and the Lockland School District near Cincinnati.
If the final results give Hilliard an "Excellent with Distinction," A-plus grade, it will be the fifth consecutive year Hilliard has earned the top rating. The ODE added "with distinction" to its ratings five years ago, and only 15 school districts in Ohio have received the highest rating for four consecutive years, according to district officials.
"This is simply another piece of the puzzle that shows Hilliard City Schools is achieving its mission of empowering students to thrive in the 21st century," Superintendent Dale McVey said in a district release.
The preliminary results released last week included three of the four components for the state report cards: state indicators, value-added measurement and adequate yearly progress. Preliminary performance index scores were released in July.
Hilliard met all 26 state indicators, 24 of which are test-based indicators. Two other indicators relate to attendance and graduation rates.
The value-added rating tracks students' academic progress from one year to the next. The district could still receive an "Excellent with Distinction" rating when the value-added rating is released with the final results in mid-August.
Adequate yearly progress measures student performances in the following subgroups: economically disadvantaged students; Asian or Pacific Islander students; black, non-Hispanic; Hispanic; American Indians or Alaskan natives; multiracial students; students with disabilities; students with limited English skills; and white, non-Hispanic.
The July results also gave the district its highest-ever performance index score of 104.4, an increase over last year's 103.5, which was an increase over the previous year's 101.9.
The performance index is a weighted average that includes all tested subjects and the number of untested students, with the greatest weight given to advanced scores, according to the ODE.
Combining all four segments of preliminary results allows the district to project an "Excellent with Distinction" ranking, district spokeswoman Amanda Morris said.
"(We are) confident in the validity of our data,"McVey wrote in a letter to parents. "We have multiple checks and balances in place and are always looking to enhance the security of our processes to ensure that we have accurate and reliable information. ...
"There is still more data from the ODE that we do not have yet that will provide more insights as to the progress of our schools and individual students.
"We will use this information to continue to refine our practices, strengthen our academic initiatives and move toward more progress for our students."