After receiving the state's highest marks in four of the past five years, the Pickerington Local School District saw mixed results under the Ohio Department of Education's new grading system.
As district officials predicted at an Aug. 12 school board meeting, Pickerington schools have work to do to reach the new bar of education standards set by the state.
The state Thursday, Aug. 22, released its report card for student performance during the 2012-13 school year, and Pickerington earned three A's, two B's and four C's under the state's new nine-letter-grade system.
The district received A's for meeting 24 of 24 state standards, and graduating 95 percent of the students in the class of 2012 within four years.
It also earned an A in the "valued-added" category, which seeks to measure the district's average progress for students in math and reading in grades 4-8. Essentially, it looks at how much each student learns in a year.
The district received a B for achieving a "performance index score" of 86.1 percent. That standard seeks to lend value to the percent of students how are learning "at or above proficient" state standards.
Another B was given for the district's 92.7 percent, five-year graduation rates for the class of 2011.
Pickerington earned C's for value-added growth among its gifted students and disabled students, respectively.
It also earned C's for growth among its students learning at the lowest 20 percent within the district and for its "annual measurable objectives," which grades districts on their ability to teach students in different subgroups.
The report card put the district's 2012-13 enrollment at 9,674 students.
The report card data mirrored information shared by district officials during an Aug. 12 school board meeting.
"I don't think we were surprised by any of it," said Bob Blackburn, Pickerington sssistant superintendent.
"We do a pretty good job of collecting data ourselves," Blackburn said.
"We were pleased with most of it. Obviously, we're not satisfied. We know we need to continue to improve."
Blackburn said the district is seeking to improve closing gaps in learning for several subgroups, including students with disabilities.
He also noted the district focus on improving mathematics teaching and learning this year.
"Math definitely was our weakest area," Blackburn said.
"We need to make sure we're doing a deep analysis of our strategies and make sure they're in line with Ohio's new curriculum."
According to the report card, 88.1 percent of third-graders, 90.9 percent of fourth-graders and 88.1 percent of sixth-graders were at or above math proficiency in 2012-13.
However, that average dropped to 82.7 percent for fifth-graders, 80.6 percent for seventh-graders and 84.6 percent for eighth-graders.
During the Aug. 12 meeting, Pickerington Superintendent Rob Walker said district officials expected the overall grade under the new system to be a C.
Walker said such rankings aren't acceptable to the Pickerington community, but to an extent were expected because Ohio has entered a new era of tougher education evaluation.
"The bar is going from minimum competency to one that's ranking us with everyone in America," he said. "This is pretty much where we thought we'd be -- a B or a C.
"Our faculty and staff ... recognize a B or C in this community is not what we expect," Walker said.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Aug. 22 that no Ohio school districts received all A's under the new system, and no district received all F's.