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School Report Cards Hard To Understand




For a report card that is intended to be easier to understand, the new Ohio A-F school and school district report cards are generating many questions.

Archbold Area Schools, which were Excellent or Excellent with Distinction for more than a decade, earned three A grades, two Bs, three Cs, and a D.

Pettisville Local Schools, Excellent for nine years, got three As, two Bs, a C, D, and an F.

On top of that, Pettisville’s failing grade came in the area of “overall progress,” which information from the Ohio Department of Education says measures the school district’s “average progress of its students in reading and math. Did the students get a year’s worth of growth?”

Steve Switzer, Pettisville superintendent, said the F grade leaves him “perplexed.

“I really don’t understand the math behind it… how they got from point A to point B,” he said.

Switzer said a lot of highperforming school districts around the state had Ds and Fs on their report cards, as well.

Swtizer said Pettisville officials are working with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center to understand what went on with the report cards.

Speaking to the Archbold school board during its Monday, Aug. 26 meeting, Michelle Bagrowski, district curriculum director, cautioned board members against trying to compare the new grade cards against the old.

The new cards are entirely different from the old ones.

She cautioned against trying to come up with an overall letter grade for the school district. At this point, even Ohio Department of Education officials don’t know how to do that.

Archbold and Pettisville schools each received a B on the Performance Index scale.

To calculate the Performance Index, the state assigns higher point values to students scoring high on state tests. The maximum is 120.

Pettisville had a PI score of 106.3, the highest in the four-county area (Fulton, Defiance, Henry, and Williams counties), and 57th-highest out of 610 Ohio school districts, Switzer said.

Archbold scored a 103.2, which Bagrowski said was down slightly from last year.

Archbold and Pettisville passed all state test requirements, each earning an A for “indicators met.”

Aaron Rex, Archbold superintendent, said he is “especially proud of the fact that we achieved 24 out of the possible 24 report card indicators.”

“Gap Closing” is a category which state officials say measures whether all students in the district, including minorities, economically disadvantaged, and disabled, are succeeding.

Bagrowski said the measure sets up 10 different subgroups, including such categories as non-white, economically disadvantaged, and disabled.

In order for a subgroup to count, there must be at lease 30 students in it.

She said if the group is small, and one or two perform poorly on state tests, it can dramatically affect the group passage rate.

The measure for Gap Closing is Annual Measurable Objectives. Archbold received a 74.5% on AMOs, earning a C.

Pettisville scored 100% on its AMOs, earning an A.

Switzer said Pettisville was the only school in the four-county area and one of 27 districts in Ohio to receive an A for AMO.

Progress

The “Progress” portion of the new grade cards relates to the former “value-added” measure, which looks at whether students made a year’s worth of educational growth, more than a year, or less, in that time frame.

It breaks down progress in to four subcategories: Overall, Gifted, the Lowest 20% in Achievement, and Students with Disabilities.

Archbold scored an A in the Overall subcategory; it was in this area that Pettisville received its F.

Swtizer said 141 Ohio school districts received an F in the Overall subcategory.

Archbold schools received a B in Gifted, D in the Lowest 20%,andaCforStudents with Disabilities.

PettisvillehadaCinGifted, a D in Lowest 20%, and a C in Students with Disabilities.

Bagrowski said the Lowest 20% category takes all students across Ohio and determines the lowest 20%.

It then looks at those in each district who fall in the 20%, and assigns a grade based on the performance of those students.

Bagrowski told board members she won’t know until later this week exactly which students were judged to be in the lowest 20%; that’s when the Department of Education makes the information available online.

Archbold and Pettisville each received As for the four-year graduation rate.

The state evaluates graduation by looking at the students who started high school as freshmen, then looking at how many graduated in four years.

It doesn’t matter what school the students graduated from; if they entered your school as a freshman, they are counted in your graduation rate.

Pettisville had a 100% graduation rate; Archbold’s four-year rate was 98.2%.

The state asks how many students entered as freshmen and graduated in five years.

Pettisville had a 94.3% rate, which the state called a B.

Archbold’s five-year rate was 89.6%, which was a C.

Bagrowski told board members that there were issues with Archbold’s fiveyear rate, including three students who moved out of the district.

She said information about those students was improperly coded into the state’s information system by their new districts.

There is no way to change or correct the information, she said.

Other measures will be added to the new A-F grade cards in 2015. That same year, Bagrowski said an overall, single-letter grade will be assigned each district by the DOE.

Not Ashamed

Bagrowski said the new report cards provide Archbold school with “really great data,” data that will be beneficial to the district.

She told board members, “The main thing to take away (from the new grade card) is we have nothing to be ashamed of.”



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