New Albany-Plain Local officials said the Ohio Department of Education's state report card released Aug. 22 shows the district's accomplishments as well as areas for future improvement.
"This helps us in planning for the growth of students," district spokesman Patrick Gallaway said.
Unlike previous years, the ODE now is issuing letter grades for individual criteria, creating what state officials say is a more accurate barometer of the effectiveness of a district's education relative to individual students. However, districts will not receive overall letter grades until 2015.
The new report card format also includes more value-added categories, which measure the amount of progress students achieved in one school year.
The district earned A's in four of the nine graded categories. The other grades were two B's, two C's and one D.
Gallaway said district officials were most excited by the A grade on the overall value-added measurement, which means that overall, the district's students made more progress -- about two years' worth -- than expected in one school year.
"These students have shown that they learned two years' worth of growth," Gallaway said.
In a video on the district's website, Superintendent April Domine explained the A shows students are growing "far more than a year for a year across all grades and all subjects."
The three subgroups graded in the value-added category, however, received a B, C and D.
The value-added measurement for gifted students earned the B, but the C and D were for the lowest 20 percent of students in achievement and for students with disabilities, respectively.
Domine said a C means that the students are progressing "a year for a year."
The district received the D from the combined scores of students with disabilities in the 2-5 elementary building and New Albany Middle School. The individual building grades were C's and, Gallaway said, the district has asked the ODE to clarify the formula used to combine those scores, which resulted in the D.
Gallaway said the district already studied its special-education programs last school year, working with Bowling Green State University to create an action plan.
The action plan recommends more data collection and continuous monitoring of student progress, as well as changing intervention to include "scientifically research-based strategies" when students are not achieving at acceptable levels.
Gallaway said the plan suggests using flexible groups of students to maximize learning and targeting math and reading intervention.
The study also recommends reviewing individual education plans for each student and including parents in that process.
The district will begin implementing the action plan this school year.
Another highlight of the state report card was the A the district earned for meeting all 24 performance indicator standards, achieving a 75-percent passage rate as required on all state-mandated testing.
Gallaway said the passage standard for state testing will increase to 80 percent for the 2013-14 school year.
Four- and five-year graduation rates above 98 percent earned the district its other two A's.
Rounding out the report card
The district's performance-index score, which rates students' individual annual progress, was 106.3, which earned a B grade. The previous year's performance index was 107.2, the highest in the district's history.
Finally, New Albany-Plain Local received a C in annual measurable objectives, which is similar to the adequate yearly progress measurement in the old report card formats.
According to the ODE, the objectives measure the academic performance of up to 10 specific racial and demographic groups of students in reading, math and graduation rate. Subgroups with fewer than 30 students are not rated.
Each of these groups is compared against the collective performance of all students in Ohio, and a grade is assigned for efforts to close achievement gaps in all groups.
A district cannot get an A on the AMO section if one of its groups is not reaching the percent proficiency goal set for all students.
On this year's new report card, the AMO for reading was 83.4 percent, math was 78.5 percent and graduation rate was 75.9 percent.
Three New Albany-Plain Local subgroups fell below the standard for reading: Hispanic students (82 percent); limited-English students (71.2 percent); and students with disabilities (69.7 percent).
Four subgroups fell below the standard for math: African American students (75.2 percent); economically disadvantaged students (75 percent); limited-English students (71.2 percent); and students with disabilities (58.6 percent).
For the full report card , visit reportcard.education.ohio.gov.