The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 28, 2013

Majority of Ashtabula County school districts make the grade

Four out of seven districts ‘excellent’ on revised report cards

By CARL E. FEATHER - cfeather@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— Four of the county’s seven public school districts earned “excellent” ratings on their 2011-12 report cards from the Ohio Department of Education.

The final report cards were issued Wednesday for Ohio’s 614 public school districts. Normally released near the start of the new school year, complete reports were delayed until this week due to a statewide attendance tampering investigation.

The overall performance index for the district and each building in it, plus the value-added measure were added to the data released Wednesday. Value-added rates are used to measure students’ annual academic growth.

The state ranks districts based on four measures of performance: indicators, performance index, adequate yearly progress and value-added. The six designations are excellent with distinction, excellent, effective, continuous improvement, academic watch and academic warning.

Buckeye, Pymatuning Valley and Grand Valley local schools received excellent ratings, as did Geneva City School District.

Geneva met 22 of the 26 state indicators. Fifth-grade achievement was the district’s most troublesome area — students in that grade failed to meet the minimum of 75 percent proficiency in reading, mathematics and science, although they came very close, 74.5 percent, in reading. The district’s four-year graduation rate of 87.8 percent also felt short of the state’s standard of 90 percent.

The district’s performance index was 99.5 percent out of 120 points. It failed to meet the AYP and its value-added measure was “above.”

“Achieving the excellent rating for the district was a goal set by the board several years ago and has truly been a team effort,” said Dave Foote, board president. “Our community should be proud ... for demanding a quality education for our children. Many thanks to the students, staff, families, and community for the hard work invested in making this happen!”

Grand Valley nailed 23 of its 26 indicators and came within a whisker of achieving those it missed — eighth-grade science (74.3 percent), seventh-grade mathematics (72.1 percent) and graduation rate (89.5 percent).

The district’s performance rate was 100.4. While meeting the value-added measure, the district did not attain its adequate yearly progress benchmark.

Pymatuning Valley met 22 of the 26 indicators and had a performance index of 98.0. Proficiency on the seventh-grade reading and mathematics test scores fell short of the state’s 75 percent standard, as did 10th grade (Ohio Graduation Test) science. The district had a graduation rate of 89.8 percent.

PV met its adequate yearly progress mark and had a positive value-added measure.

In Buckeye Local, 23 of the 26 state indicators were met. Trouble areas for the district were 5th-grade mathematics (71.1 percent), seventh-grade mathematics (72.3 percent) and eighth-grade science (72.3 percent). The district posted a graduation rate of 90.7 percent.

Buckeye’s performance index was 99.2 percent and its value-added measure was positive. It did not meet the adequate yearly progress benchmark, however.

Conneaut Area City Schools and Jefferson Area Local Schools were rated effective.

Conneaut hit 21 of 26 state indicators. A lack of proficiency in mathematics at the elementary level was the district’s bane. Third, fourth, fifth and seventh graders all failed to meet the 75 percent proficiency level in that subject. But by the time students reached 11th grade, they nailed the Ohio Graduation Test with a 95.8 percent score in mathematics.

The district’s graduation rate was 86.2 percent. Its performance index was 94.7, its value-added measure was met, adequate yearly progress was not.

Jefferson Area Local Schools had a performance index of 97.3 percent and met 23 of its 26 indicators. Its value-added measure was below the benchmark and it did not meet its adequate yearly progress mark.

Fifth-grade reading and mathematics scores, along with seventh-grade mathematics proficiency were the indicators not met.

Ashtabula Area City Schools received a continuous improvement grade. It met only 12 of the 26 state indicators and had a performance index of 91.4, the lowest in the county. Its value-added measure was positive, but the district failed to meet the adequate yearly progress.

AACS’s graduation rate, 76.9 percent, was one of the indicators not met. For Ohio districts with similar demographics, the average rate was 83.4 percent. Statewide, the rate was 79.7 percent.

While the district’s elementary and junior-high students struggled to meet proficiency standards in many subject areas, by the time the Ohio Graduation Tests were administered in 11th grade, the students met the 85 percent requirement in all subject areas except science, 84 percent.