State Report Card woes

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

In 2016, educators and parents were told to brace for lower than usual grades when the state released district report cards. History is repeating itself.

While a failing report card causes anxiety for students, a failing report card at the district level, especially for a school system experiencing excellent ratings in the past, is more than disappointing.

Reynoldsburg received the results of the 2016-17 report card last week, which contained low marks for four out of six components. The numbers were nearly identical to a 2015-16 report.

“I know, like many other parents, we’re disappointed,” said school board member Debbie Dunlap during a Sept. 19 Reynoldsburg Board of Education meeting. “I firmly believe classroom assessments and teachers have a better handle (on student achievement). It doesn’t promote creativity. The creativity that we have here in Reynoldsburg, the standardized tests can’t measure. I think we are educating the whole child.”

According to the most recent report card, the district received a “D” in Achievement, which represents the number of students passing state tests. Reynoldsburg earned the same grade last year.

The Progress component grade, which measures student growth, was also a “D” for both school years.

In Gap Closing, which evaluates how schools meet performance expectations for vulnerable populations in English, language arts, graduation and math, Reynoldsburg earned an “F” for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

For the K-3 Literacy component, an indicator of school success in getting struggling readers on track to third grade proficiency, the district continued with a “C” rating. The Graduation Rate component was “A” for both years.

The Prepared for Success component grades districts on six student measures, including ACT/SAT remediation-free scores, honors diploma, industry-recognized credentials in high-demand career fields, advanced placement tests, international baccalaureate tests and college credit plus.

Reynoldsburg earned a “D” in Prepared for Success for the latest reporting period. Last year, it received a “C”.
With few exceptions, report cards for neighboring districts were similar.

“As a teacher myself, I know every teacher takes it to heart,” said board President Joe Begeny. “Apparently, almost all of central Ohio is bad.”

Reynoldsburg Schools Superintendent Melvin Brown said the district will use the information contained within the report to address areas of concern.

“It is not the be all, end all to what we do in the district,” Brown told the board. “It is also identifying areas of success.”

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