Preliminary data shows the Archbold Area School District has earned the Excellent with Distinction ranking on the Ohio Department of Education school district report cards for the 2011-12 school year.
Pettisville received an Excellent ranking.
All Fulton County school districts are at least Excellent; four are Excellent with Distinction.
The data is considered preliminary. State officials continue to investigate “data scrubbing,” in which some districts across Ohio allegedly manipulated school attendance data in order to improve their standing on the report cards.
Archbold earned the top ranking, passing 25 of 26 state criteria.
During the Monday, Oct. 22 Archbold Area School Board meeting, Michelle Bagrowski, curriculum director, said the one criteria Archbold failed to meet was graduation rate.
Bagrowski said the Ohio Department of Education looks at the “cohort” graduation rate, following a freshman class from its first day of school through graduation.
There were 106 students in the Class of 2012 when they were freshmen, but only 95 graduated.
“There were 11 students who were not considered graduated,” she said.
Breaking that down, she said five dropped out before graduation.
One student is on an IEP, or individualized education plan, due to developmental disability. Bagrowski said the IEP calls for the student to continue receiving education beyond high school. As a result, the state does not consider that student graduated.
Another student did not complete graduation requirements by the end of the school year, but finished over the summer months. Again, ODE did not consider that student as graduated.
One student transferred out of Ohio.
Three more students went to other districts under the state’s open enrollment program, which allows any student to attend any district if the receiving district has a space available.
Bagrowski said when the receiving districts entered those three into the state’s Education Management Information System, or EMIS, they were not “coded” correctly.
“We can’t fix what other school districts do,” she said.
Bagrowski said some of the test results and indicators on the report cards are trending upward for Archbold.
For example, she said fifth grade students across Ohio have historically had trouble with the ODE fifth grade test.
Archbold’s fifth grade scores were up, one of the few districts to see an increase.
She said Archbold had taken steps to boost fifth grade scores, including departmentalizing fifth-grade teachers.
The ODE eighth grade science test covers material from the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Bagrowski said eighth graders received a review of material they learned in their earlier grades from their sixth and seventh grade teachers prior to the test.
The school district is rated on a performance index. All test scores across the district are assigned a point value, based on how well the student performed on the test.
A student who has a basic understanding of the material will get a lower point value than a student who scores at an accelerated level.
The highest possible score is 120.
Archbold’s performance index score was 102.1 in 2009-10, 104.6 in 2010-11, and 105.6 in 2011-12.
AYP Not Met
Bagrowski said in 2010- 11, the district met the state requirement for the federally mandated Average Yearly Progress, or AYP, standard.
For 2011-12, the district did not.
AYP counts students as a whole and breaks them into groups based on ethnic origin, economic status, and whether or not students are on individualized education plans.
For 2011-12, students on IEPs did not meet the requirements of the reading test, so Archbold missed AYP.
Bagrowski noted each year, AYP standards are increasing, making it harder, especially for small districts, to meet the requirement.
Then there is the state value-added growth criteria. Archbold has exceeded the value-added criteria two years in a row.
When all the criteria are combined, Archbold qualifi ed for the top ranking.
Steve Switzer, superintendent, said he had not fully studied the preliminary data released by the state.
Pettisville apparently failed to earn the “with distinction” title because its value-added growth criteria ranking was below expectations.
Pettisville met all 26 criteria, and had a performance index score of 107, the highest in the county.
In addition to Archbold, the Evergreen, Pike-Delta- York, and Swanton districts were ranked Excellent with Distinction according to the state preliminary data.
In addition to Pettisville, Fayette and Wauseon were Excellent.
Bagrowski told Archbold school board members, “This is the 11th consecutive year we’ve been Excellent or Excellent with Distinction.
“It’s something to be proud of, and we did it without having to mess our attendance data up to make us look better than we are.”
Joe Long, interim school district superintendent, said out of 609 districts across the state, only 46 (7.5%) have earned the top rank for 11 or 12 consecutive years.– David Pugh