New Albany News

District poised to regain top report card grade

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The New Albany-Plain Local School District received good news in the most recent release of preliminary state report card data: It likely will regain its "Excellent with Distinction," A-plus grade after falling to "Excellent" last year.

"I think it shows the great hard work that went on all last year and is a testimony to New Albany educators and what the teachers do every day," said Superintendent April Domine.

The Ohio Department of Education's state report card uses test scores to measure student achievement and growth and grades each Ohio public school district accordingly. The official results for 2011-12 are on hold while State Auditor David Yost investigates allegations of tampering with student-attendance data against several districts, including Columbus City Schools, according to an ODE release.

For the 2011-12 school year, New Albany-Plain Local met all 26 state indicators and increased its performance index score from 106.6 to 107.2. Domine said the performance index score, which rates individual student performance, is the district's highest ever.

The district was graded "Excellent" for the 2010-11 year because of its value-added rating, which measures the progress students made from the previous school year: Students in fifth, sixth and eighth grades did not meet the growth projections for their grade level in math and eighth-graders failed to achieve the growth projections in reading. Prior to that, the district was graded "Excellent with Distinction" in the previous three years and had the highest possible rating from the ODE for nine years in a row.

The 2011-12 value-added rating, which was below average in the 2010-11 state report card, is now above average.

"That was a huge leap and is a significant growth level to obtain," Domine said. "It means our students grew far more than one year's growth in one year's time."

Domine's said the last school year's focus on third-, fifth- and eighth-grade math helped the district achieve growth that she described as "huge leaps forward" in all areas that were targeted.

State standards require 75 percent of all third- to 10th-grade students to be proficient in all test subjects, said ODE spokesman John Charlton. New Albany students tested at above 90 percent in most cases. Only fifth-graders tested at percentages lower than 90 in math, reading and science.

The state also requires 85 percent of 11th-graders to test proficient in all subject areas. New Albany's 11th-graders scored 100 percent proficient in reading and above 98 percent proficient in writing, science, math and social studies.

Domine said with the new information, the district will evaluate individual grade level test results and produce its annual academic achievement report later this year. The report will include targeted areas for improvement and other academic measures the district considers to be important, such as the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment by our students and staff," Domine said. "There's been so much effort focusing on helping every child to grow and achieve at all levels."

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