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Published: Monday, 7/8/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Sylvania Schools to be graded like students

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Sylvania Schools will receive new letter grades from the Ohio Department of Education when its next state "report card" comes out in August, 2015, a district official explained on Monday to the Sylvania Board of Education.

The revisions are based on Ohio's new Common Core Curriculum Standards and use a letter grade system from “A” to “F” to rate how well the school district delivers the new standards to students.

That replaces word ratings like the "Excellent with Distinction" rating Sylvania received for the 2011-2012 school year, said Adam Fineske, the district's executive director for curriculum and assessment.

The letter grades will be issued for six components: gap closing, achievement, growth, prepared for success, graduation, and literacy program.

A “C” would mean the district met state expectations of proficiency in that category. A “B” would mean it increased state expectations, and an “A” would mean a district went above state expectations for proficiency.

Each of the six components will be graded on several performance indicators. About nine indicators will receive an individual grade beginning in August. Overall component letter grades will be designated in the 2015-2016 school year, along with the an overall district grade.

Gap closing, similar to the former Adequate Yearly Progress, measures student proficiency in subgroups of economically disadvantaged, race or ethnicity, students with disabilities, and limited English proficiency.

Prepared for success, a new component, measures student progress in college administration test participation score, honors and diploma awards, advance placement and international baccalaureate participation and scores, as well as college-ready and career-ready assessments.

Literacy progress measures the district’s kindergarten through third-grade literacy rate. It is based on the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a state program that mandates students reach a certain reading proficiency before being promoted to the fourth grade.

The achievement component is based on the school’s overall academic performance and performance index. Both will receive individual scores in August 2013, along with student graduation rates for four years and five years.

Also starting in August will be report cards for the measures that makeup district’s growth component or annual level of improvement of students overall, those who are gifted, students with disabilities, and those in the lower 20 percent achievement bracket.

In 2014, grades will be given to individual measures for literacy, followed by prepared for success in 2015.

Although the scoring system is being phased in, the administration is concerned with the rate at which the school is expected to be on track with the scores that mirror the new curriculum that is also being phased on a three-year plan, starting this August.

“I think the scores and ratings are higher, so it will be a challenge for us, but over a period of time we will be able to address the new academic content standards and also the new grading scales,” Superintendent Brad Rieger said.

The state and federally led curriculum changes have increased learning expectations for children at each grade level so they can compete in the global economy, Mr. Fineske said.

Board member David Spiess said the overall changes were too much in too little time for transitioning to a new curriculum and being tested on the new standards.

“Maybe the legislators would recognize that they are burdening the schools in trying to comply with all this at once,” he said, adding that he hoped state legislators would recognize that and postpone some major components.

“I think it will be challenging to get this done by the 2014 to 2015 school year,” said Mr. Fineske. “We are trying to manage it day by day as much as he can,” he said about the new curriculum standards, noting that the district was in a better position that other districts.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com.



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