The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 22, 2013

A-Tech brings home first report card

Staff Writer

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — One low grade against two high grades pulled the overall report card performance of  A-Tech, Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus, to  a C+ on the first ever career-tech report card.

The Ohio Department of Education has implemented a new grading system to assess the performance of career-technical schools. The first career-tech report card will be released today, and reflects data on the 2010 graduating class.

Letter grades A-F are given in three areas: four-year graduation rates; five-year graduation rates; and the rate of post-program placement.

Superintendent Dr. Jerome Brockway said while they received an A rating for four-year graduation rates, and a B rating for five-year graduation rates, the post-program placement grade is a D.

“The public needs to understand that the placement rate data is from 2010, and was unusually low for us,” Brockway said.

He said, “We have been tracking placement rates for many years, so this is nothing new for us. We are committed to providing a quality education for students, and we aren’t going to change that.”

The bad economy in 201, is to blame for the low post-program placement score, Brockway said.

 “We have to send (students) into the world when they graduate, and unfortunately, we can’t control what kind of economy they’re entering into.”

However, Brockway is optimistic about future report cards. He said there is a three-year phase-in process for the report cards, and they will eventually have eight components. He expressed confidence the report cards in the next few years will show how well A-Tech is preparing students.

Twenty-two to 47 percent of A-Tech graduates go on to post-secondary training, whether that is college, an internship, or  an apprenticeship, said Brockway.

The rating system is believed to be the first in the nation to use an A-F grade scale and exceed federal requirements.

The graduation rates show the proportion of students who graduated within four and five years of beginning ninth grade. Only students concentrating in career-technical studies by their fourth year of high school are included in the graduation rates.

The proportion of career-tech graduates enrolled in post-secondary education, advance training, military service, or who are employed within six months after leaving secondary education makes up the post-program placement grade.

Calculated into the final grade is the Status Known Rate which reflects the proportion of graduates for whom data was reported. If the Status Known Rate is 95 percent or above, the placement grade will be increased a full letter grade. However, if the Status Known Rate is below 85 percent, the placement grade will be lowered a full letter grade.