The Westerville City School District will not appeal results on the partial 2015 state report card, but found a number of errors that could affect final results and some students' ability to graduate in May.

The Westerville City School District will not appeal results on the partial 2015 state report card, but found a number of errors that could affect final results and some students' ability to graduate in May.

The Ohio Department of Education is expected to release the final 2015 report card by Feb. 25. Data are based on state tests administered during the 2014-15 school year.

Scott Ebbrecht, the district's director of assessment, said student test results released by the state are incomplete.

"We've identified nearly 300 student tests where data is either missing, incorrect or incomplete," he said. "This concerns us greatly, particularly when it comes to high school test results.

"The state has established a high-stakes testing system that can make or break a student's ability to graduate," he said. "If there are errors in the vendor data we've been provided, then it's our professional obligation to examine and correct the data."

The district's partial report card, released Jan. 14, listed two B letter grades: 93 percent for the four-year graduation component and 93.4 for the five-year graduation rate.

Westerville did not receive a percentage or letter grade in K-3 literacy because less than 5 percent of the district's kindergarten students were deemed "not on track" to reach state reading score benchmarks.

Also no letter grade was given on the Prepared for Success portion. Percentages were reported in that category, however, including that 63.9 percent of students took the ACT and 45.1 percent participated in Advanced Placement classes.

Several districts, including Worthington City Schools, are appealing some of the grades and percentages on the partial report card.

"We met to discuss that option and do not intend to file an appeal," Ebbrecht said. "However, that shouldn't be interpreted to mean that we think the data is 100 percent accurate. A successful appeal likely wouldn't change our report card results very much.

"Instead, we're going to focus our time and energy on ensuring the accuracy of individual student test data that we've received from the state testing vendor," he said.

Superintendent John Kellogg said parents should realize this year's report card results reflect a significant number of changes to state testing.

"The test itself is completely different and students are now taking some of these tests online, which wasn't the case in prior years," he said. "The state also set higher expectations for students, schools and districts, so these results are the first to reflect those higher standards."

Gov. John Kasich signed a two-year state budget bill in June that threw out the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, after one year of math and English exams. Educators and parents complained of online glitches, 20-day testing windows and the long delay in receiving results. The state opted for the American Institutes for Research, which provided science and social studies tests last year.

Kellogg said it is impossible to conduct an "apples to apples" comparison of the latest test results with those of previous years.

"These comparisons are going to happen regardless, because that's how the state is calculating report card results and presenting the data," he said. "Ordinarily, I would suggest that these latest results could serve as a new benchmark, but since the tests are changing again next year, I don't believe that would be accurate."

He said he would like to see the Prepared for Success percentages increase.

"It is the way state officials evaluate how well students are being prepared to continue their education or enter the workforce after graduation," he said. "When you think about it, that's really our bottom line."

Kellogg said the challenge is to "dig deeper into the data."

"Certainly one of the areas we want to focus on is closing achievement gaps among students," he said. "We have a very diverse student population and if we can close achievement gaps among them, then our entire district benefits."