By Linda Dillman
It is report card time and while Hannah Ashton Middle School and Baldwin STEM might not be very happy with the results, their grades closely mirror average measures across the state.
The Ohio Department of Education receives district information on performance marks in a half dozen categories and although the state awarded letter grades on individual measures for several years, this is the first time letter grades were given for each of the six components including Achievement, Progress and Gap Closing.
“We made significant increases in performance in 8th grade science and went from an ‘F’ to a ‘B’ in Value Added,” said HAMS Principal Jamie Wilson. “The lowest 20 percent in Achievement went from an F to an ‘A.’ Some parts are growing and we’re looking to increase in all areas. We still have a lot to do.”
Both schools received a component “B” on the Value Added Progress portion of the report card and differed slightly in four sub-categories. Each school was awarded an “A” for the lowest 20 percent (of students) in achievement and scored high in gifted, but HAMS received an “F” in students with disabilities while Baldwin was awarded an “A.”
According to Wilson, Hannah Ashton staff is focusing on increasing achievement levels in all tested areas, increasing the Value Added Progress Component grade from a “B” to an “A” and closing the achievement gap in reading and math.
“We’re looking at our subgroups in different ways,” said Wilson.
Baldwin STEM Principal Michelle Watts said the state’s 2016 testing reflects higher expectations than in years past. She emphasized it is a time of transition during which measures and data need to be understood and not quickly compared to previous years without the context of implemented changes.
The minimum level of acceptable performance in one area of testing is increasing by more than a dozen points over the course of three testing periods—from 66 percent to 80 percent.
“We believe we are making our students future ready,” said Watts.
Watts said she and her staff created intervention steps in and outside the classroom, but there is a need to grow some students more than one year in progress.
“We’ve made significant improvements in gifted education,” Watts said. “We’re very proud of the work we’ve done.”
In the Achievement portion of the grade card, which rates the number of students passing state tests and performance indexes, both schools earned a “D.” Statewide, the majority of schools earned either a “C” or a “D.”
The rating for how a school is meeting performance expectations for the most vulnerable students—Gap Closing—in English language arts and math was an “F” for both Hannah Ashton and Baldwin. Schools across the state also averaged an “F” for the same component.
According to the Ohio Department of Education website, ensuring success for every child means that schools must close gaps that exist in the achievement of students based on income, race, ethnicity or disability. The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations of the most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math and graduation.