Preliminary results from the Ohio Department of Education about Canal Winchester's state report card indicate the district is improving or staying the same in most areas.

A progress report released in August by the district's curriculum department shows Canal Winchester schools received C's for the achievement, gap closing and K-3 literacy components; a D in prepared for success and an A for its graduation rate.

Overall, Superintendent James Sotlar said he is pleased with the strides the district has made.

"When we dig down deep in the scores, we are seeing improvements in many of the areas, which, to us, is a good sign," Sotlar said. "We still have a ways to go and we are working hard, doing our best, to get us to where we need to be, which is the A and B mark."

Canal Winchester schools received a C for achievement on the 2015-16 report card, based on two evaluation markers -- performance index and indicators met.

The ODE website says the achievement component "represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them."

The 2015-16 report card gave the district a 74 percent or C on the performance index. And while it maintained its C average for the 2016-17 performance index, preliminary information shows the district raised its average to 75.7 percent on the index.

Canal Winchester schools earned an F letter grade for indicators met on the 2015-16 report card and that doesn't appear to be changing for the 2016-17 school year; however, the preliminary data show the district went down in terms of percentages from 44.8 percent in 2016 to 12.5 percent in 2017.

Sotlar said part of that change is because the number of indicators has been reduced. On previous report cards, districts were evaluated on five more indicators.

"We have less indicators and, really, our scores this year almost mirror what we had last year," he said. "You take away those five indicators of A's, then your percentage goes down."

Early gap-closing information shows the district jumped from an F or 40.7 percent in 2016 to a C or 70.3 percent in 2017. This component evaluates how well school districts are meeting the performance expectations for their most vulnerable students in English language arts, math and graduation.

Graduation rate results for the district earned an A for 2016 and 2017 students. This component reviews the percentage of students who successfully finish high school with a diploma in four or five years.

Four-year graduation rates have increased from 95.5 percent in 2016 to 96.9 percent in 2017. Five-year rates went up from 96.9 percent in 2016 to 98.1 percent in 2017.

"To me, that graduation rate is what we look at because that's the end goal -- basically, to get our kids to graduate," Sotlar said.

The district's K-3 literacy grade jumped from a D in 2016 to a C in 2017, according to the early data.

Sotlar said of the 313 third-grade students who took the state test, only six did not earn scores high enough to move on to fourth grade; those students had the opportunity to take the reading exam again over the summer and at the beginning of the school year.

If they earn a qualifying score, Sotlar said they could receive a mid-year promotion to fourth grade.

The only other preliminary score released is the "Prepared for Success" component which is supposed to determine how well prepared Ohio's students are for all future opportunities. Canal Winchester went from a C in 2016 to a D in 2017.

Sotlar said many superintendents in the state aren't quite sure how this component is graded and what standard is used to determine that students are "prepared for success."

Information about the district's scores on the progress component of the state report card hasn't been released yet. It has four evaluation markers and looks at the growth all students are making based on their past performance.

Final state report card grades and scores are expected to be released in early to mid-September.

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