Do our schools make the grade?
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2004
More Lawrence County districts are rated effective or even excellent than ever before, according to educational report cards released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Education.
The yearly report cards show that Dawson-Bryant and Fairland school districts were given the top rating, "excellent," while Chesapeake, South Point and Symmes Valley were rated in the next category, "effective." Ironton was rated as showing "continuous improvement" while Rock Hill remains in "academic watch" for the second year in a row.
Students are tested in five subject areas: Citizenship, math, reading,
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science and writing.
Each district as a whole is given "indicators"- points for making progress in various areas of concern, such as its attendance rate and graduation rate.
Each district is also scored on its "adequate yearly progress", with each district
having "met" or "not met" its AYP.
According to information from the state education office, "This measure rewards the achievement of all demographic groups in a school or district. Federal AYP
requirements identify a series of standards that each and district must reach. Two of the standards are targets for the percentage of students who must score at or above proficient level in reading and math. Another two are the requirement "of at least 95 percent participation of enrolled students in reading and math testing".
Schools and districts must also meet targets for attendance and graduation rates." Failure to meet any of these items can result in failure to achieve AYP.
"I'm excited," Dawson-Bryant Superintendent, Dr. James Payne said about his district's "excellent" rating. "A lot of hard work has gone into this. I think there are four groups of people who need to be congratulated: the teachers who worked hard- and I mean this sincerely. They have put a lot of extra time and effort into this. The students obviously deserve a lot of credit. They're the ones who met the challenge. I think we're working well with the parents and I think they're key to bring the home and the school into one community. And the board of education deserves a lot of credit. We've come to them with different ideas and changes and they've allowed us to move forward."
As a whole, the district met 17 of the state's 18 required indicators and did achieve AYP. The district as a whole posted gains in its attendance rate, although the number if students collecting a diploma at the end of the year actually fell from 95.7 in 2003 to 94.6 in 2004. The district's overall performance index of 07.30 is also an improvement.
The number of Dawson-Bryant fourth- graders scoring at or above proficiency decreased all of the areas tested. However, sixth- graders fared better, showing gains every area. The number of sixth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level increased by more than 10 percentage points on the citizenship portion of the test; more than 13 percentage points in math.
Dawson-Bryant sophomores also posted sizeable gains in all areas of the test, with 100 percent of 10th graders passing the ninth-grade passing the writing proficiency test.
Payne said he thinks the figures show that the district's success has not happened overnight but has been a steady growth over the last several years.
Like Payne, Chesapeake Superintendent Sam Hall said his district's improved rating is the result of several years of hard work and steady growth. Chesapeake schools were rated as showing "continuous
"I'm very happy, this is very good," Hall said of his district's "effective" rating. "We're still think there's work left to do but I feel like we're making sustained movement upward and that's what its all about. We're continuing to make improvements year after year and we're working toward excellence."
Hall said he is most pleased with the fact his district met the AYP, or adequate yearly progress standard. The district met 12 of the state's 18 indicators. District-wide, Chesapeake's attendance rate held steady at 95 percent while its graduation rate dipped from 86 percent in 2003 to 81.3 percent in 2004. Still, the district's performance index rose to 92.90, an increase of more than eight points over the previous report cared.
Chesapeake fourth-graders posted gains in citizenship, math, science and reading, but showed decreases in writing. The number of fourth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level in math jumped 20 percentage points from the 2002-03 year to the 2003-04 year. The number of fourth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level on the reading portion of the rest jumped nearly more than 16 percentage points.
Sixth-graders showed gains in citizenship, math, reading and writing but a slight dip in science. On the math portion of the test, the number of sixth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level rose more than 13 percentage points.
posted gains in every area of the ninth grade test, including a 10 percent increase in math.
For the Fairland district, the 2003-04 report card must have seemed a little like the Yogi Berra quote "deja vu all over again."
That district was rated "excellent" last year as well.
District-wide, Fairland met 17 of the 18 required indicators and achieved its AYP. Fairland's attendance rate increased to 95.4 percent while its graduation rate fell from 85.2 to 79.7 percent. The district collected a performance index of 99.30.
Fourth-graders in the Fairland district posted gains in citizenship but losses in math, reading, writing, and science.
Sixth-graders fared better, posting gains in all areas of the test except science. Fairland sixth-graders scoring at or above proficient level
nearly 10 points on the math portion of the test and nearly eight points in the area of writing.
Fairland sophomores showed gains in citizenship, reading, and writing
but decreases in math and science when taking the ninth-grade proficiency test.
The city district continued to show "continuous improvement"
in the 2003-04 season, with the district collecting 10 of the 18 required indicators. The district did not meet its AYP, but did garner a performance index of 87.60, an increase of more than two points over the previous year. The district's attendance rate dipped slightly, and its graduation rate fell by seven-and-a-half points.
Ironton fourth-graders posted gains in every area of the test, with a more than 10 percent leap in reading.
Sixth-graders in the city district posted decreases in citizenship and science, but increases in the number of students scoring at or above proficiency in math, reading and writing. The number of students scoring at or above proficiency in math rose by 10 percentage points over the 2002-03 results.
Ironton sophomores posted perhaps the largest gains of any grade level. Tenth-graders improved in every area, with 100 percent of tenth-graders taking the ninth grade test achieving at or above the proficient level on the writing portion of the exam. The number of 10th-graders who scored at or above the proficient level on the
math part of the test jumped
more than 18 points, and on the science portion of the test more than 14 points.
The Rock Hill district met 8 of the 18 required indicators
and did not meet its AYP. The district's performance index was 79.50, an increase over the previous year's 78.80. District-wide, attendance rate rose from 93.9
to 94.0 and its graduation rate rose one-half point.
Rock Hill fourth-graders posted decreases in citizenship, reading, writing,
while making gains in math, science.
Rock Hill sixth-graders showed decreases in citizenship, science and writing, but an increase in reading and a large jump in math. The number of Rock Hill students scoring
at or above the proficient level in math rose from 23.9 percent to 45.3 percent.
Rock Hill sophomores posted the biggest gains of any group in the district. The number of tenth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level on the citizenship portion of the ninth-grade increased
more than 10 percentage points; figures rose nearly 15 points on the math part of the test and more than 14 points on the reading portion of the test. Of all Rock Hill sophomores taking the ninth-grade test, 98.6 scored at or above proficient on the writing part of the test; 93.5 scored at or above the proficient level on the science segment of the test and that is an increase of nearly 11 points over the 2002-03 results.
Like most of its Lawrence County Counterparts, South Point schools' 2003-04 rating is an improvement over last year's results. Last year South Point was listed as being in "continuous improvement." The district collected 15 indicators but did not meet its AYP.
South Point's attendance rate dipped slightly, as did its graduation rate. But it garnered a performance index of 91.90, an increase of more than three points over the previous year.
South Point fourth-graders scored gains in every area of the test. The number of fourth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level in math jumped by more than 11 points; while the number of students scoring at or above proficient rose more than nine points in the area of reading.
Sixth-graders showed declines in citizenship and reading, but gains in math, writing and science. The number of sixth graders in the South Point district scoring at or above the proficient level on the science part of the test rose by more than eight points.
South Point sophomores posted gains in citizenship, science, writing and math but losses in reading.
South Point Superintendent Ken Cook said the overall improvements reflect a team effort within the South Point community. "I think the administrators and the teachers and students and parents are working together and that has a lot to do with it," Cook said. "When everybody works together good things happen."
Symmes Valley kept its "effective" rating for another year, collected 16 indicators and met its AYP.
While its attendance rate
dipped slightly the number of students getting diplomas increased. The district-wide performance index was 99.0, a four-point jump over the previous year.
Symmes Valley fourth-graders in every area except reading and writing, and the decrease in the reading portion of the test was slight.
The number of fourth-graders scoring at or above the proficient level on the science segment of the test rose more than 18 points.
Sixth graders performed well also, with 100 percent of that children in that grade level scoring at or above the proficient level in math. The number of sixth-graders scoring at or above proficient on the writing portion of the test rose more than 16 points. Sixth graders posted gains in every area of the test.
Symmes Valley sophomores also fared well, posting gains in every area of the ninth-grade test except math, where they dipped slightly.
Ohio as a whole
Overall, 93.8 percent of Ohio districts and 89.7 percent of Ohio schools earned Excellent, Effective or Continuous Improvement designations on the 2003-2004 Local Report Cards. Compared
"There's no question that the hard work of Ohio educators is paying off, and I thank them for their continued efforts this year," said Susan Tave Zelman, superintendent of public instruction. "Five consecutive years of improvement demonstrate that Ohio's educational system is working."
Data indicate 38 school districts and 347 schools are in Academic Emergency or Academic Watch, resulting in 44 percent fewer districts and 40 percent fewer schools than last year.