First state report card ‘grades’ released by ODE


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



Some thin and unreliable data was released last Thursday by the Ohio Department of Education to “grade” the job school districts did teaching kids in 2014-2015.

What it doesn’t show is how local students did last year on the state’s disastrous PARCC testing.

Those numbers are scheduled for a Feb. 25 release, unless Lorain County’s superintendents get their way.

They are asking the state never to let the year’s district report cards see the light of day, saying PARCC testing proved worthless.

“The PARCC assessment lacks validity, is age and culturally inappropriate, and ignored socio-economic effects,” their statement said.

And so late in the year, the tests’ results won’t help teachers adjust to do a better job on spring standardized tests, they argued.

State report cards are usually released in the fall but this year were long delayed due to — you guessed it — the switch to the PARCC tests.

School administrators also wrestled with parents who chose not to have their children take the PARCC exams, which skewed the results. “Ethically, this alone was a failure of the testing assessment,” superintendents said.

The Firelands Schools saw that in spades.

There were 177 students whose families refused to allow them to take the controversial exams. All those counted as zeroes on the district’s state report card, said former superintendent Robert Hill, who has since taken a job in central Ohio.

The document is signed by Michael Laub of Avon, David Hall of Oberlin, Franco Gallo of Keystone, Michael Von Gunten of Firelands, Michael Cook of Sheffield/Sheffield Lake, Robert Scott of Avon Lake, James Powell of North Ridgeville, Scott Goggin of Midview, Thomas Jama of Elyria, Graig Bansek of Columbia, Steven Sayers of Amherst, Dennis Mock of Wellington, Jerome Davis of Clearview, Glenn Faircloth of the Lorain County JVS, and Greg Ring of the Educational Service Center of Lorain County.

The data that was released last Thursday briefly highlights graduation rates, college entrance testing, and literacy numbers.

Here are facts about the schools in our newspapers’ coverage areas from north to south:

AMHERST

• 93.9 percent of students graduated after attending four years of high school.

• 94.5 percent graduated after five years.

• 65.7 percent of the Class of 2014 took the ACT with a mean score of 23 points.

• 8.1 percent of the Class of 2014 took the SAT with a mean score of 1653.

• 25.9 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with an honors diploma.

• 75.4 percent of the Class of 2012 was enrolled in college within two years of graduation.

• 70.5 percent of students in kindergarten through third grade achieved basic literacy (a B grade).

FIRELANDS

• 92.5 percent of students graduated after attending four years of high school.

• 95.1 percent graduated after five years.

• 45.3 percent of the Class of 2014 took the ACT with a mean score of 21 points.

• 1.9 percent of the Class of 2014 took the SAT with a mean score of 1583.

• 5 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with an honor’s diploma.

• 65.4 percent of the Class of 2012 was enrolled in college within two years of graduation.

• Data on K-3 literacy was not complete.

OBERLIN

• 85 percent of students graduated after attending four years of high school.

• 91.9 percent graduated after five years.

• 57.5 percent of the Class of 2014 took the ACT with a mean score of 22.

• No students took the SAT.

• 10 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with an honors diploma.

• 51.2 percent took part in International Baccalaureate classes, the third-highest in the state next to Northwood and Ostego.

• 36.4 percent received an IB score of four or higher, by far the highest in the state.

• 64.4 percent of the Class of 2012 enrolled in college within two years of graduation.

• 40 percent of students in kindergarten through third grade achieved basic literacy (a D grade).

WELLINGTON

• 87.7 percent of students graduated after attending four years of high school.

• 92.1 percent graduated after five years.

• 45.4 percent of the Class of 2014 took the ACT with a mean score of 23 points.

• 9.2 percent of the Class of 2014 took the SAT with a mean score of 1759.

• 9.2 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with an honors diploma.

• 56.9 percent of the Class of 2012 was enrolled in college within two years of graduation.

• 66 percent of students in kindergarten through third grade achieved basic literacy (a B grade).

BLACK RIVER

• 87.4 percent of students graduated after attending four years of high school.

• 93.3 percent graduated after five years.

• 56.3 percent of the Class of 2014 took the ACT with a mean score of 21 points.

• 5.8 percent took the SAT with a mean score of 1488.

• 11.7 percent of the class graduated with an honors diploma.

• 56.6 percent of the Class of 2012 was enrolled in college within two years of graduation.

• 47.9 percent of students in kindergarten through third grade achieved basic literacy (a C grade).

ACCURACY CLAIMS

Those numbers may be right on or way off. Many Ohio districts are appealing errors in the state’s data dump.

“There is some useful information here but because it’s not the full picture it’s hard to analyze or present this is some way,” said Michael Molnar, Amherst’s educational services director.

He’s spotted plenty of problems with his district’s report card entries. For one, the state reports how many students are in Advanced Placement courses but not how many take courses through Lorain County Community College in Amherst’s “College Credit Plus” program.

Amherst has the most students in the LCCC partnership of any district in Lorain County.

Molnar said he also discovered several students who were not counted in the graduation rate figures.

“I’ve done as much as I can to scrub and erase the errors, at least as much as they’ll let me,” he told the Amherst board of education at its January meeting.

The biggest trouble is there’s nothing on the report card the teachers didn’t already know.

That means none of it helps improve academics or foster more well-rounded students, he said.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com