State report cards delayed by attendance-data scandal
New Albany-Plain Local School District Superintendent April Domine said she hopes to have state report card results from the Ohio Department of Education in September so the district can share the data with the community.
"The delay in the release of the state report card puts on hold the report we are anxious to give to our community on the goals we set last year," Domine said.
The State Board of Education on Aug. 20 voted to delay the planned Aug. 29 release of the report cards after finding several districts had filed false attendance data, which led to "artificially higher state-testing results," according to the ODE.
The ODE is working with State Auditor Dave Yost to investigate the allegations of tampering with student-attendance data against Columbus City Schools, Toledo Public Schools and the Lockland School District near Cincinnati.
The state school board is expected to meet again in September to consider the report card release. The state has never before delayed the release of the report cards, which parents can use to make school choices and districts use to make classroom decisions.
Preliminary results sent to the district in July showed New Albany met all 26 state indicators and will be rated as "Excellent" on the state report card. Domine said that designation is not expected to change when the official results are released.
Domine said New Albany-Plain Local has several safeguards intended to accurately compile attendance data. Building principals and secretaries watch attendance as students move in and out of the district and an employee at the administrative office makes sure all lists are up to date.
"We have strong processes in place and are confident about our attendance data," she said.
She said most parents move students out of the district at the end of a school year and new students tend to come into the district at the end of a break in classes, such as winter or spring break.
"Families are moving in when there's a natural break in the schedule," she said.
When asked if the delayed report card release could negatively affect parents' choices in moving to New Albany, Domine said most parents who contact her want to know information that is not in the state report card.
"They are looking beyond the state report card ratings and are more interested in our U.S. News and World Report rating, whether or not we have world language in younger grades, the number of Advanced Placement classes we provide and what is the access to student advance courses at younger grades," she said.
She said state metrics are important but many parents' "vision is of a school district that provides opportunities that resonate with them as parents, a district that prepares students for the global workforce, provides students with the opportunity to excel and can show we have a high national performance."
She said New Albany is "focused on setting metrics for performance and constantly tracking these, while setting up ways to measure performance that goes beyond the state report card."
Domine said the ODE is changing the report card to align it with the national Common Core State Standards Initiative. The initiative was started by parents, teachers and administrators who are members of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the standards apply to English language arts and mathematics, according to the initiative's website.
"The entire report card is going to change and assessments are going to be aligned with the national Common Core standards," Domine said. "We already are planning for the national Common Core standards and introducing more rigorous assessments -- beyond those (Common Core) metrics -- to demonstrate our performance based on national and international standards."