State superintendent: Report cards show improvement from last year

State school Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said the biggest takeaway from the new state report card is that in nearly every grade and subject, scores and achievement improved from last year.

“That’s very gratifying and a great indication that the things we want to happen are happening,” DeMaria said Thursday, pointing out that after years of change, students used the same test platform two years in a row. “Some of it is this phenomenon that whenever there is a new test, it does take a while to get acclimated.”

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DeMaria pointed out that for the first time this year, each district was given the ability to link from their report card to a document of their own – in many cases a “quality profile.”

“That allows them to talk about other successes they’re having (outside of state test scores) … to add to the richness of the information available,” he said. “There’s more to the story of what’s happening in schools and districts than simply the (report card data) that’s coming out today. I’m not diminishing the importance of this information, but you have to look at it in context and balance it with other information from schools, teachers, other parents.”

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The report card results can be confusing, as Dayton Public Schools’ example shows. Dayton’s performance index on state tests rose slightly from last year, but at the same time, their student growth score (progress) went down from an “A” to a “D.”

Chris Woolard, senior director of accountability for the Ohio Department of Education, said Progress grades are about maintaining your place in the ranking of districts.

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“The vast majority of districts are going to see an increase in performance index this year,” Woolard said. “In Dayton’s case, they’re growing, but not at the same rate (as other districts). While they did see an increase, they did not meet those expectations for growth.”

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