Preliminary results of last school year's PARCC tests aren't necessarily an accurate reflection of what's going on in Reynoldsburg schools, according to Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning.

Preliminary results of last school year's PARCC tests aren't necessarily an accurate reflection of what's going on in Reynoldsburg schools, according to Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning.

The scores, posted on the Ohio Department of Education website, show 61.1 percent of students scored proficient in ninth-grade English; 30.3 percent were proficient in eighth-grade math; 32.5 percent were proficient in eighth-grade science; and 57.2 percent scored proficient in sixth-grade social studies.

Thomas-Manning said the recently released scores for Reynoldsburg students "need some context around them."

"The scores are affected by our approximately 85 opt-out students," she said. "However, the scores still provide information to us to reflect and revise our practice in the classrooms."

Students could score from 1-5 on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, with 3 considered proficient. Students who opted out of the tests were counted as failing the test.

Scores from the district's other grade levels are also posted on the website.

The PARCC tests were not popular last year with parents, mostly because 20 successive days had to be set aside in the spring to administer the tests to all grades.

Districts also had to allow for longer testing periods for the performance-based PARCC exams, because they required essay-type answers, unlike the multiple-choice tests used in previous years. That unpopularity caused many parents to sign "opt-out" forms to keep their children from taking the tests.

The PARCC tests will not be administered this school year, after an Ohio Senate Advisory Committee studied state testing options and recommended test improvements and a shorter testing window.

Thomas-Manning said when the district looked at its aggregate scores at the elementary level, they were above the state averages.

"This is what I would expect," she said. "The middle level scores need to have context around them. We provide students with high school work opportunities. This means many of our seventh- and eighth-grade students and math and science scores are in the high school aggregates.

"This left a smaller sample size in our seventh- and eighth-grade math and science scores," she said. "So the overall percentage does not reflect the true achievement of all our seventh- and eighth-grade students. It is much higher."

She said the high school end-of-course exam scores "were lower than I expected, especially in American government and history."

Other school districts got lower results than they expected also, possibly because of opt-outs and because some districts used the first-year paper-and-pencil option while some administered all the tests online.

Jennifer Wene, Worthington City Schools' chief academic officer, said her district administered all the tests online, as did Reynoldsburg.

"There is some thought that the two different testing formats may have impacted test outcomes," she said.

Wene said the tests also assessed new standards that have been in place only one to three years, so teachers in all the districts are still making transitions in the curriculum.

Thomas-Manning said Reynoldsburg educators "need to reflect on the content and rigor that is being delivered in some courses."

"The depth of understanding and critical thinking to take a skill and use that skill in a new situation is imperative," she said.

She said her "wish list" for new state assessments would be that they are "aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards and produce reliable, valid results that reflect our students' true achievement and growth" and that "students, teachers and families understand the value of the assessments to hold districts accountable."

Her third wish is for a technology platform that "is user-friendly and is structured to handle the volume of assessments given."