The Johnstown-Monroe school district is one of three in central Ohio to improve its scores in all areas of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT), which was administered to sophomores in March.

The Johnstown-Monroe school district is one of three in central Ohio to improve its scores in all areas of the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT), which was administered to sophomores in March.

Laura Lawrence, J-M curriculum director, credited the performance to a modified schedule at the high school last year that allowed more time for hands-on learning.

"We're very excited," she said. "The teachers and students have worked hard. We're proud of what's happening."

Sophomores were tested in March in five subjects, including math, reading, science, social studies and writing. Students must demonstrate performance at the proficient level or above in all five subject areas in order to graduate.

Preliminary results show J-M students improving in every area with the following percentages at the proficiency level or above: math, 88 percent; reading, 93.6 percent; science, 80.2 percent; social studies, 88 percent; and writing, 95.2 percent.

The percentage of J-M students who passed all five sections on the first try was 72.8 percent, up from 69.1 percent in 2007.

Of the five sections, J-M students most improved in social studies, with 88 percent passing compared to 79.6 percent last year. Students improved by about 3 percent in reading, science and writing from last year, while they improved by 1 percent in math.

Lawrence said the high school's flex schedule was modeled on New Albany. The schedule provided regular periods on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, with double blocks of time on Wednesday and Thursday.

"If you were in science, you went on Wednesday and Thursday and could do more hands-on activities," she said. "They could extend their learning and go beyond. We also added more technology at all levels. At the high school, many of the classrooms have smart boards, where kids can interact with material."

Lawrence said the teachers developed the flex schedule after looking at other districts.

"That was part of their excitement in planning the schedule," she said. "It's not just lecturing out of the book. They are actively involved. In this new schedule, there's a half-hour of academic options, when students can work on assignments they're having trouble with. There's an intervention period built in the day for them."

The district also added an OGT science class for students who didn't pass the OGT in 10th grade.

"We developed this class from individual data," Lawrence said. "It was put in place this past year."

In addition to Johnstown, Upper Arlington and Marysville improved in all areas of the test out of 49 districts in central Ohio, according to preliminary results.

In the Northridge Local Schools, the percentage of sophomores who passed all five sections of the OGT was 67.3 percent, down from 69 percent last year.

Students improved in math, reading and science from last year, but their performance deceased by 4 percent in writing. In social studies, their performance held steady with 77 percent compared to 77.6 percent in 2007.

Northridge sophomores met proficiency or above with the following: math, 85.6 percent; reading, 88.5 percent; science, 75.2 percent; social studies, 77 percent; and writing, 87.3 percent.

The OGT replaced the Ninth-Grade Proficiency Test as a high school graduation requirement for the classes of 2007 and beyond. The tests were developed in compliance with the requirements of Ohio Senate Bill 1, Ohio House Bill 3 and the Federal No Child Left Behind Act.