The Pettisville Local School District, which has long had a reputation of outstanding academics, got hit with two F grades and a C in a portion of the latest round of school report cards.
The Ohio Department of Education released more data for the 2014-15 school year last week.
Pettisville received failing grades in Overall Progress and in Progress For Students With Disabilities.
The district received a C in Progress Among Gifted Students.
The progress of students in the Lowest 20% In Achievement was not rated.
Information from the ODE website states the progress section of the report card “is your district’s average progress for its students in math and reading, grades 4-8. It looks at how much each student learns in a year.
“It answers the question, did the students get a year’s worth of growth? Did they get more? Did they get less?”
In a response emailed to this newspaper, Steve Switzer, superintendent, questioned the effectiveness of the state testing regiment.
“We are blessed with excellent school districts in the four-county area and see good results coming from those schools,” Switzer said.
“By results, I am speaking of the finished product: well educated, industrious students who will do well in education as well as in whatever careers they choose. Not just test scores.
“Standardized test scores have proven to be an excellent predictor of one thing– how well students will do on the next standardized test, not anything else!
“At Pettisville, we once again received one of the few A’s in the state in the area of AMO, Annual Measurable Objectives, or “Gap Closing” among different student groupings.”
Only 14 Ohio school districts received an A in the Gap Closing category.
“Since we have low numbers (in terms of enrollment), the categories in which we are measured is less than most districts, so that will moderate the effects of the accomplishment,” Switzer said.
“However, when you look at the actual categories, it is pleasing to note that our Hispanic students score at a higher level than either all students or non-Hispanic students in reading.
“In math, Hispanic students are nine-tenths (.9) of one percent behind all students. In graduation rate, the difference is one-half (.5) percent.”
The ODE website says the gap closing grade “shows how well all students are doing in your district in reading, math, and graduation.
It answers the question, ‘Is every student succeeding, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or disability?’”
Switzer said for nine straight years, Pettisville had led all schools in the four-county area in terms of Performance Index.
He described the performance index as “a composite of all test scores.
“This year, however, we finished fifth, 1.1 points behind the top school, Edon.”
Performance Index is measured on a scale from 0 to 120.
“Our PI this year was 99.1. Last year’s score was 107.2.
“The numerical difference is due to the complete overhaul of standards and cut scores that took place this year.”
“Cut scores” are the scores students must achieve to be ranked in different categories in the ODE calculations.
The categories affect the final results.
“We ranked 90th in the state (in Performance Index score) this year, as compared to 49th last year out of 609 school districts,” Switzer said.
In the report card for the 2014-15 school year, Pettisville received a B grade on its Performance Index.
The district received an A in terms of “indicators met,” meeting 29 of 32 indicators.
The 29 of 32 result gives Pettisville an “indicators met” percentage of 90.6%. A minimum of 90% is needed to earn an A in the category.
“We appreciate the legislature providing high standards and setting the bar high,” Switzer said.
“However, a comparison another superintendent made was that it is a bit challenging when the race initially was a 100-meter dash, and then mid-race is changed to a 100-yard dash!
“I would like to modify his allusion to say that what started out as a dash has changed to a hurdles halfway through the race!
“Everything from the late rollout of scores to the change in expectations, meaning different cut scores, to the fact that some schools are still taking a pencil and paper test while the rest of us are completely computerized, to the move away from PARCC, has had its impact.”
PARCC stands for “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.”
It was a testing program Ohio used last year.
Last year, ODE moved away from PARCC tests after complaints students were spending too much time taking tests.
“We appreciate the efforts that our students put into their education, from ranking 27th in the state in attendance, to preparing every day, to taking standardized tests seriously,” Switzer said.
“They respond well to the excellent preparation that their teachers and principals give them and are sent to school by parents who value their children as well as the educational process in which we all are involved.
“All of these elements make a great team.”