Licking County News

Rathburn says state report card shows where SWL must improve

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Southwest Licking Assistant Superintendent Kasey Rathburn said she was disappointed with some of the results of the new state report card, which was issued Aug. 22.

But, she said, she was happy to know exactly where the district needs to improve, as its component grades ran the gamut from A to F.

Unlike previous years, the Ohio Department of Education issued letter grades for dozens of individual criteria, creating what state officials said is a more accurate barometer of the effectiveness of a district's education relative to individual students. Districts will not receive overall letter grades, however, until 2015.

The new report cards also have more value-added categories.

"I personally like the new grade card," Rathburn said.

She said the new report cards are more specific than their predecessors, showing precisely where Ohio districts are doing well and where improvement is necessary.

SWL met all 24 of the state's performance indicators for an A grade.

According to the ODE, these indicators show how many students have a minimum, or proficient, level of knowledge.

These indicators are not new to Ohio students or teachers. They are based on a series of 24 state tests that measure the level of achievement for each student in a grade and subject.

For each test, at least 75 percent of students are required to score "proficient" or better to get credit for the corresponding indicator. That is commonly called "meeting" the indicator.

"That A is very important," said Southwest Licking board member Don Huber.

Huber said it is a "bottom line" score that shows students are performing well on achievement tests.

Southwest Licking received a B for its performance index of 100.2.

The performance index measures the annual achievement of every student, not just whether they reach "proficient."

Schools receive points for every student's level of achievement. The higher the student's level, the more points the school applies toward its index.

The A to F grades on the report card is determined by the number of indicators met out of the total possible indicators. The letter grade for the performance index is calculated by dividing the number of points earned by a school or district divided by the total possible number of points (120). Southwest Licking accrued 100.2 points, a percentage of 83.5 percent, or a B.

Southwest Licking received D's for its overall value-added measurement and value-added measurement for gifted students. The district received a C for the value-added measurement of disabled students and a B for the lowest 20 students.

The value-added measurement highlights the importance of providing the curriculum and instruction that will help all students to progress academically each year.

Value-added grades are based on a scale that measures a value-added index. This is the same value-added index that has been used for report card purposes since Ohio adopted them in 2007. A range of minus-1 to to plus-1 represents "one year of growth in one year" and is given a C grade. Two years of growth in one year earns an A.

Southwest Licking received an F in annual measurable objectives, which is similar to adequate yearly progress in the old report card formats.

According to the ODE, the objectives measure the academic performance of specific groups of students, such as racial and demographic groups, rather than individual students like the value-added measurements.

Each of the specific groups then is compared against the collective performance of all students in Ohio.

A school or district cannot get an A on this measure if one of its groups is not reaching the goal set for all students. The objectives measure10 student groups in reading, math and graduation rate and assign a grade for efforts to close achievement gaps in all groups.

"We have to start doing more early intervention in reading and math for our various subgroups," Rathburn said. "We absolutely have to improve that. We were very disappointed."

Rathburn said district officials also were disappointed with Southwest Licking's four-year graduation rate of 87.7 percent, which earned the district a C.

"To me, the red flags are up," Rathburn said.

She said while some of the results were tough to read, district officials know exactly what must be improved, and they are ready get started.

For the full report card, visit reportcard.education.ohio.gov.

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