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State Releases 2014-2015 Ohio School Report Card

The Ohio Department of Education released the second portion of the 2014-2015 Ohio School Report Card on Thursday, February 25th. This latest release includes component grades for “Student Achievement,” “Academic Progress,” and “Gap Closing.” Sycamore Community Schools continues to meet or exceed all state indicators. However, we are disappointed in the publication of portions of this report, as it contains unreliable and unverifiable data that is not reflective of the actual success and growth of our students in the 2014-2015 school year.

“The letter grades given by the department are not a true representation of what is occurring in our classrooms because it compares two significantly different tests,” Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent, said. “It is like comparing apples to oranges.”

Several other factors make it nearly impossible to compare results on this report card to previous years, including learning standards as measured by the PARCC tests, shifting definitions of what makes a student “proficient”, and issues with taking tests online for the first time. The largest factor impacting Sycamore was the overwhelming number of students who chose to not participate in PARCC testing last year. The state counted more than 750 tests as zeroes against Sycamore’s overall score.

The “Student Achievement” component grade is calculated by combining two measures; “Indicators Met” and “Performance Index.” According to the report, Sycamore received a 97-percent or an “A” for Indicators Met, which is the scores our students attained on each of the state-mandated tests. The majority of students scored “proficient” or above in all content and grade levels. Some of the highlights include:

  • 91.43% of 5th graders were proficient or above in Math
  • 90.5% of 7th graders were proficient or above in Math
  • 90.4% of 8th graders were proficient or above in English/Language Arts
  • 91% of 9th graders were proficient or above in English I end-of-course exam
  • 90% of 9th graders were proficient or above in Algebra I end-of-course exam
  • 100% of students grades 8-10 were proficient or above in Geometry end-of-course exam

However, there was a significant drop in Sycamore’s “Performance Index” due to the large decrease in student participation in testing last year. According to the report, the district received 79.9-percent or a “C” on Performance Index. This calculation included all of our students who “opted-out” as scores of zero. The department also released a modified Performance Index that removed those zeroes, bumping Sycamore’s Performance Index up to a “B.” When we calculate our performance index based on only the student scores who actually took the test, it is 106.3, in line with past year's achievement.

Although we are frustrated with the problems with the Report Card, we do use the state data to highlight areas where we need to prioritize efforts.

“While we are pleased with our overall achievement outcomes, we realize there is continued work to be done as we address the Academic Progress and Gap Closing needs of our most challenged learners and those who have significant gaps in their learning,” Forsthoefel, said.

“The grades being reported by the state are based primarily upon PARCC tests that have been already eliminated and replaced by the Ohio legislature with new AIR assessments that our students are preparing to take in April. Based on our own classroom data, we know our students are growing at a higher level than what is in this report. While we are not putting a lot of weight on this data, we want to remain accountable to our families. We are focused on the continued growth of all of our students and realize that there is still work to be done. We will continue to deliver the quality of education our community has come to expect.”

State officials are even calling the data released today both flawed and irrelevant.

“The tests, and, therefore, the grades, violate standards of fairness,” said AJ Wagner, Ohio Board of Education member. “I urge students, parents, and communities to ignore them. These report cards are not just inaccurate, they are harmful to our children, our schools, and our communities.”

The Ohio Department of Education will issue another report card in just four months when the results of this year’s AIR testing are released in June. Our Quality Profile provides a more comprehensive picture of the success of our students beyond these most recent standardized testing results.

“Our staff is constantly refining our daily instructional practices in each subject area to ensure every student reaches their greatest potential,” said Karen Naber, assistant superintendent. “We are confident that with another year of familiarity with the tests and updated standards, as well as a deeper analysis of other data points, our students will continue to grow and excel on state assessments.”

For more information about the upcoming state assessments, click here. To learn more about the 2014-2015 Report Cards, click on this Guide.