GALLIPOLIS — Officials in Gallipolis City Schools are evaluating the results of their district report card, recently issued by the Ohio Department of Education.
“It’s an effective tool figuring out what we need to work on,” stated Craig Wright, superintendent. “But I think it is a little skewed in how it plays out with the actual assessment part.”
Wright explained the expectations and changes in the system give a misrepresentation of the schools ability to educate students. Last year the expectation to pass a test was 73.9 percent. This year the expectation is 80 percent. Looking at the actual data from test scores, the city schools showed improvement over last year, according to Jeremy Hout, curriculum director.
“We improved in 17 out of the 23 assessments over last year,” said Hout.
Despite an improvement in numerical data, they received a lower letter grade than the previous year.
“How they come about on the rating is obviously complicated, but the way they get that info out to the public is very simplistic in an A through F type system,” said Wright. “We’ve shown a lot of growth in many areas, and to me that shows progress.”
Hout explained that the letter grade is deceiving to the public. In this grading system, a C is meeting expectations for one year’s growth in a student. That is, a student made improvement from one grade to the next. According to this grading system, the state is trying to gauge schools on their ability to educate students on more than a year’s worth of material in less than a year’s time.
“We do use the data to help determine where we need to go and what we need to do, however the way the state reports it to the public is a little deceiving,” said Hout. “C or below means average or poor, but in this system C is meeting the expectation, showing one year’s growth.”
Wright explained that the report card is not a proper evaluation of districts across the state.
“When I’m a teacher and all of my students have D’s and F’s, what would that tell me as a teacher?” said Wright. “That I would need to reteach, that I’m doing something wrong instructionally and we need to retest.”
Wright explained that when all of the grades across the state are consistently wrong there is something wrong with the assessment itself.
“We obviously use the data from the report card to guide our instruction,” said Hout. “It’s not the only piece of evidence we use, but it helps determine what we need to work on and where we are at.”
Hout explained that the numerical data coming back from the test highlights weak spots for their students and where they can improve their curriculum in order to better serve the students.
The city school district was given a D in Achievement and Prepared for Success categories, and F in progress and Gap closing, a C in K-3 Literacy, and a B in Graduation Rate. More details about each achievement area can be found on the state’s website: http://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
“If anyone wants to know how their student is doing, look at their test data and compare it from year to year,” said Wright. “Look at what the schools are doing with their students.”
Wright believes that the schools do more than just educate, he feels they provide needs for students beyond learning. Students receive two meals a day, some get their clothes washed, counseling with students experiencing difficulty is also available. These are all things the school must do before the student is ready to learn, and it is not documented or accounted for in the district report card.
“I think that we are comparable, and even above average to other districts like us,” said Wright.
Both Hout and Wright plan to use the data moving forward to improve the quality of education provided by the Gallipolis City School District.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.
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