Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools leaders will focus on areas that need improvement and a balanced-assessment approach, following the Sept. 13 release of the state report card for the 2016-17 school year.

Overall, the district received two A's, two C's and two D's, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

The district received A's in progress and graduation rate; C's in achievement and K-3 literacy; and D's in gap closing and prepared for success.

Gahanna-Jefferson Assistant Superintendent Jill Elliott said the district has identified areas where more work needs to be done.

With the state's increase in the expected proficiency level from 75 percent to 80 percent, she said, many districts struggled to keep pace with previous achievement levels.

"Over 90 percent of districts in the state of Ohio ending up receiving a D or an F with indicators on the report card," Elliott said.

Gahanna received an F in indicators that are part of the achievement category. The district met eight of 23 indicators that require a passage rate of 80 percent for each indicator.

Elliott said the district did show improvement from last year in 17 out of 23 tested areas in the category.

"We are proud that our students are making growth, which is shown with our value-added ratings, where we received three A's and one B, with an overall A for our progress component," she said.

"In Gahanna, we believe state test results are important, but we do not believe they are the most important piece of information related to student learning and growth."

Elliott said state tests are a narrow measure of achievement that took place several months ago.

"We believe in a balanced system of assessment that provides real-time, actionable feedback to students and teachers so that informed decisions can be made about teaching and learning to support student growth," she added.

Chris Woolard, senior executive director at the Ohio Department of Education, said the report cards should not be the lone piece of evidence residents use to judge a district.

"We know there's a lot more to the story," he said.

He said the report cards are "designed to be aspirational."

"The whole point of the system is it's designed to be a system of continuous improvement," he said.

Woolard said students could be achieving a lot in districts that have D's or F's on their report cards.

"It does not mean that your school district is failing," he said.

Woolard said the ODE has seen positive signs in this year's report cards.

"One of the things that we're seeing across the board is that achievement levels are up," Woolard said.

The state will debut an overall letter grade for each district on next year's report cards, he added.

For a complete look at Gahanna's report card, as well as building reports, visit education.ohio.gov/topics/data/report-card-resources.

ThisWeek staff writer Thomas Gallick contributed to this story.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla