Sycamore Community Schools scored above the state average on all indicators in the 2016 Ohio School Report Card despite continuing changes to state testing and how indicators are calculated. The Ohio Department of Education is set to release letter grades on Thursday, September 15.
The release includes component grades for Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy, and Prepared for Success. The new report card is based on state tests administered in the 2015-16 school year, the third consecutive year the state has administered a different test from a different vendor.
“Like many similar districts across the state, our report card will look very different than it has in years past,” said Superintendent Frank Forsthoefel. “While we will see improvements in some areas, we are anticipating a drop in some letter grades, but that doesn’t correlate to a decrease in student achievement. In fact, other nationally recognized measures show the very opposite.”
The Sycamore High School Class of 2016 earned the highest average score on the ACT college entrance exam in the school’s history, achieving a composite score of 26.0, four points higher than the state average and five points higher than the national average. Other measurable Class of 2016 achievements include:
- Graduation rate: 99%
- Average GPA: 3.33
- 87% attending college this fall
- 89.3% of students who took AP exams scored a 3 or higher (The College Board)
Sycamore Community Schools scored up to 26% higher than the state average on all indicators. The district saw increases in math, science, and social studies. The majority of students scored “proficient” or above in all content and grade levels. Some of the highlights include:
- 91.2% of 4th graders were proficient or above in Math
- 91.5% of 4th graders were proficient or above in Social Studies
- 97.1% of 11th graders were proficient or above in Reading
- 96.3% of 11th graders were proficient or above in Writing
- 95.7% of 11th graders were proficient or above in Math
- 96.5% of 11th graders were proficient or above in Social Studies
- 93.9% of 11th graders were proficient or above in Science
Sycamore Community Schools was given an “A” for Graduation Rate. However, the state gave the district a “B” for Prepared for Success.
“We have norm-referenced, reliable data that tells us our students are performing well above national averages. They are prepared for success when they leave our halls,” said Karen Naber, assistant superintendent.”
Even though 99.7 percent of Sycamore’s third-graders passed the benchmark for the state’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, the state calculated the district letter grade for K-3 Literacy as an “F.” The calculation the state assesses for that measure is how well students who were identified as not on track improved from year to year. Only 56 of our 1,573 primary students at all skill levels were identified as not on track in 2015 and nearly all have made significant improvements.
“The state K-3 Literacy component is not an authentic measure of proper reading development, as we know reading and writing skills take time to develop,” Forsthoefel said. “In some cases, these students were asked to take different assessments and only months apart. The state used this to define our success.”
The Ohio Department of Education gave Sycamore Schools an “A” for the Value-Added measure which looks at overall academic progress over a school year.
“In addition, our local assessments show our students continue to grow and excel,” said Naber, citing an overall mean in the 95th percentile on NWEA MAP testing last spring. “Regardless of what the state’s once-a-year assessment suggests, Sycamore continues to be a high-achieving district.”
Sycamore Community Schools is committed to working on ways to improve report card results.
“With any data collected on our students, we will use it to make informed decisions on refining our daily instructional practices, but the way the indicators are measured has grown increasingly complex and unreliable,” said Forsthoefel. “The letter grades given by the department are not a true representation of what we know is occurring in our classrooms, and that is our students are succeeding.”
Sycamore Community Schools recently released the 2016 Quality Profile
, which provides a comprehensive look at the high-quality education and services offered during the 2015-2016 school year. The Quality Profile includes additional accountability measures that are not captured by the state report card which will be released later this month. Click here to read the electronic version.