The Hilliard City School District's performance index (PI) is higher than it's ever been, but what exactly does that mean?

The Hilliard City School District’s performance index (PI) is higher than it’s ever been, but what exactly does that mean?

“We have set a new district record Performance Index score of 103.5,” said Superintendent Dale McVey recently. “More students are achieving at higher levels than ever before.”

“It’s a resource for communities, parents and educators to better understand how well we’re educating our students and how well they’re faring within the schools and districts that we have across the state,” said Patrick Gallaway, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). “The ultimate goal is seeking to improve scores.”

Hilliard has improved its PI. It was 101.5 in 2008-09, 101.9 in 2010-11, and now 103.5 in 2010-11. Hilliard’s PI is ranked 113 out of 613 traditional school districts in the state and 124 out of 1002 total districts.

“They’ve got a very good performance index,” Gallaway said. “They have much to be proud of.”

The PI is calculated by taking the scores from student assessments in grades three to eight and the 10th-grade Ohio Graduation Test, multiplying a weighted number with the percentage of students in the five performance levels, and adding the totals. For Hilliard, its 103.5 score was derived because 30.8-percent of students had advanced test scores and assigned a weight of 1.2; 28.8 percent were accelerated (1.1 weight); 29.1 percent were proficient (1.0); 8.1 percent were basic (0.6); 3.1-percent limited rated (0.3) and 0.1 percent were untested (0).

“The highest a district can get is 120,” Gallaway said. “A normal average score is in the 90s.”

“For us, the higher that score, the more satisfied we are,” said Steve Estepp, the district’s executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction. “What that says to us is that we’re giving our students what they need in terms of their learning and our students are able to demonstrate their learning as well and that they are getting that information in effective ways. That’s where that performance index score becomes important.”

Another component is just as important as the PI, Estepp said, and that’s the value-added measure. On its current state report card, Hilliard had a plus mark for value-added, meaning that students in grades four to eight have averaged greater than one year of progress in reading and mathematics.

“As a school district, you aim to get a year’s worth of growth,” Estepp said. “We’re doing better than that, which is very exciting for us.”

In fact, when compared to other districts, Hilliard had the second-highest value-added calculation in the state, according to the ODE.

“The fact that we, as a district, have a high performance index score, but also overall have the second-highest value-added growth in the state, is just outstanding,” Estepp said. “That can be a challenge, because sometimes you have students who score very high on the assessments, but they’re not growing from year to year. So we’re doing both, and that’s something we’re very proud of.”