Pickerington schools earned a rating of "Continuous Improvement" from the Ohio Department of Education which means the district received a "C" on its state report card despite having high test scores.
All but two schools in the district received ratings of "Excellent" (or A) with Ridgeview Junior High and Diley Middle, receiving "Effective" (or B) ratings.
The district met 27 out of 30 indicators for the 2006-07 State Report Card. The school system earned indicators (points) for each section of the proficiency exams passed by 75 percent of the students. The district also earned points for high attendance and graduation rates.
The district scored 100 out of 120 on the performance index (PI) portion of the report card. The state calculates performance index by assigning a weight to student test scores. The higher a student’s proficiency score, the more weight it receives. A score of 100 places Pickerington in the "Excellent" level of the PI indicating that most students achieved proficiency for their grade level and many students demonstrated accelerated or advanced knowledge.
"Pickerington is a great school district and the building ratings, high number of district indicators and performance index score all demonstrate the hard work and dedication of the students, parents and staff members," said Pickerington Schools Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia.
Why a "C" when test scores are high?
So, how can the district rate so highly on test scores, yet receive a "C" grade?
Pickerington schools did not meet the federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirement. AYP measures the proficiency scores of sub-groups as part of the No Child Left Behind program enacted by President George W. Bush.
"We rated ‘Excellent’ and ‘Effective’ all across the board at the school level and the PI is great," said Dr. Edwina Campbell, the district’s new director of curriculum and instruction. "It’s our AYP results that have put us into District Improvement status."
The goal of AYP, as mandated by federal guidelines, is to set standards ensuring all students will be 100 percent proficient in math and reading by the 2013-14 school year. When the program began in 2001, the federal government projected what scores each sub-group must achieve each year to meet the 100 percent proficiency goal. If one sub-group does meet their target, a school (or district) does not meet AYP.
AYP applies only to math and reading.
If a school or district sub-group does not meet AYP for three consecutive years, regardless how high their overall test scores, they cannot receive higher than a "Continuous Improvement" designation.
Conversely, if a school or district meets the AYP requirements, regardless how low their overall test scores, they cannot receive lower than a "Continuous Improvement" designation.
"Each year all of our students must continue to improve as stated in the No Child Left Behind Act," Campbell said.
"I know this district can achieve more as is indicated by the district’s ‘Continuous Improvement’ rating," said Mantia. "I am excited about using the data to assist our staff in determining areas of development…I can’t think of one area more dear to my heart than enabling every student who walks in the doors to achieve his or her potential. We need to monitor the needs of students and more importantly close the achievement gap. Children in every family achieve differently and that’s the same as in a classroom."
Sub-groups are based on factors including race, economic status, limited English ability and students with disabilities. If a school has less than 30 students who, for example are American Indian, they would not constitute a sub-group for that school’s evaluation. However, if throughout the system there are 30 American Indian students, they would constitute a sub-group for the district.
Disabled students must number 45 to qualify as a sub-group. Students in the disabilities sub-group vary in ability. For example, some students may be very high achievers but are receiving speech services. Some students may not be able to participate in taking the proficiency exams and are eligible for alternate assessment, Campbell said.
Lakeview Junior High, despite a rating of "Excellent" and high overall test scores, did not meet the AYP requirements in reading for two consecutive years therefore the school is designated as being in Year One School Improvement.
Campbell said to "strive for student achievement" the district has four goals: strong leadership, clear and precise communication, analysis of data and strategies designed around the analysis.
For more information on the state report card, visit www.ode.state.oh.us