State finishes Northridge Schools probe

Two report card measures down slightly for 11-12, but overall rating stayed “effective”

Two sections of Northridge Local Schools’ 2011-12 state report card were adjusted downward slightly, with no change in overall rating, as the final step of a state investigation into attendance reporting.

The schools’ overall rating for that year remains “effective,” but the revisions show the district met 15 state testing standards rather than 16, and the district’s performance index dropped from 91.6 to 90.9, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Northridge, which draws from parts of Harrison Twp. and Dayton, was one of seven Ohio school districts penalized for “scrubbing” attendance data in recent years. Scrubbing is improperly withdrawing a student who took the state achievement tests, thus excluding their scores.

Months ago, Northridge’s 2010-11 state report card rating was lowered two levels from Excellent to Continuous Improvement for similar reasons.

Northridge Superintendent Dave Jackson admitted that his district made errors in categorizing students, but said it was a result of a poor tracking system, not an effort to mislead anyone. Jackson said Northridge has improved the system and is comfortable that the errors won’t occur again.

State data seems to support that claim, as Northridge went from 44 improper withdrawals in 2010-11, to 23 cases in 2011-12, to just two potential issues found in 2012-13.

ODE revised report cards for Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo schools for the 2012-13 school year, but did not find reason to revise Northridge’s grades. ODE spokesman John Charlton said no Northridge employees have been sanctioned or have hearings pending.