Jefferson district keeps effective rating

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Jefferson Local Schools recently learned it retained its effective rating on the state report card, meeting 22 out of 30 indicators and scoring a 93 out of 120 points on a Performance Score Index.

"Overall, all our buildings were rated ‘Effective,’" said Superintendent William Mullett, "and the high school was rated ‘Excellent.’ This is the only time period in Jefferson Local history we’ve been rated ‘Effective’ and it is for the second year in a row. However, no matter how well you do, you want to do better."

Five new indicators were added to the 2006-07 report-grading achievements on 5th and 8th grade science and social studies, and 7th grade writing. However, the percentage of students at or above the proficient level across Ohio in 5th grade math, science, and social studies and 8th grade science and social studies were well below the minimum requirement.

Jefferson Local students mirrored their Ohioan counterparts in the three 5th grade categories; scoring a 55 percent in math, 67 percent in the new science test, and 51 percent in the new social studies exam. They passed the reading portion of the achievement test with nearly 79 percent.

Fourth graders scored above 82 percent on all three parts of the achievement test. Third graders passed both portions of their exam, scoring over 81 percent in reading and 96.5 percent in math, which jumped dramatically from 84.7 percent in 2005-06.

However, Mullett urged caution in comparing scores from one year to the next, considering the small class sizes in the Jefferson Local School District. He said, for the most part, there are approximately 100 children in each grade and each and every student impacts the district’s percentage.

"It’s amazing how many times we’re only one to three kids from making an indicator," stated Mullett. "It shows every kid is really, really important."

Sixth graders passed the reading test with 83.3 percent, but scored 67.8 percent in math and missed the state standard by seven points. Seventh grade students passed the reading section and the writing portions, which were new, but did not reach the minimum benchmark in math. Eighth graders did well in reading but dropped below the 75 percentile in math and also did not pass the new science and social studies sections.

"When we saw the eighth grade social studies score (49.5 percent) we were disappointed, but then we heard virtually no one passed the indicator," said Mullet. "It’s a real challenge these days to diagnose where kids are academically and then come up with a plan, especially when we have so many different levels of achievement in classrooms.

"I think a lot of this is about how important it is we do assessments and see where the students are weak and then target those things. Generally, though, our scores were good. With value-added indicators starting this year (in the state report card data), we should get a better and truer picture of what is happening."

The district met or exceeded the state requirement for all five portions of the 10th and 11th grade Ohio Graduation test, attendance rate for all grades, and graduation rate for the previous school year, which rose from 90 percent to nearly 93 percent.

In meeting federal Average Yearly Progress requirements, all student groups-including ethnic, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and disabled-must be at or above annual goals or make improvements over the previous year. Jefferson Local students met AYP requirements in reading and math participation, attendance, and graduation, but did not meet federal standards in reading and math proficiency.

For more information on the district’s report card, visit ww.ode.state/oh.us/reportcard.

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