District performs better, but report card doesn’t reflect it

For the 2010-11 school year, the Kettering City School District received an “Excellent” rating from the Ohio Department of Education, one step below the “Excellent with Distinction” rating it enjoyed for 2009-10.

The drop in rating is a bit of a bitter pill for many to swallow, given that the district’s scores and student performance actually improved this past school year. The problem is that the state raised the bar in one category – the Value-Added Measure – between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

In order to earn the “with Distinction,” a district must show more than a year’s worth of growth in the Value-Added Measure. Kettering students have always done this, but the state now requires districts to achieve two standard deviations instead of the previous one standard deviation before they can be considered to have made more than a year’s worth of growth. While Kettering students made more growth in 2010-11 than they did in 2009-10, they fell short of the new mark by just .06.

Despite the lesser rating, Dr. James J. Schoenlein, Kettering’s superintendent, says he’s proud of the district’s staff and students. “Our scores improved across the board this year. We did even better this year than we did last year when we were rated Excellent with Distinction,” he said. “I am as proud as I can be of our teachers and kids. They did great.”

Fairmont High School again earned the “Excellent” rating, the highest a high school can earn. The high school is responsible for meeting 12 state indicators: five each for the Ohio Graduation Tests given in 10th and 11th grades (reading, math, writing, science and social studies), plus indicators for attendance and graduation rates.

Fairmont Principal Dan Von Handorf said he’s very proud of what Fairmont staff and students accomplished. “It is very difficult to set a new record, and we did just that.” Von Handorf also reminded everyone that there is “always room to improve.”

How the rating process works

The State of Ohio’s system for generating Report Cards for districts and schools is complex, as is its method for assigning ratings. In addition, the state makes changes in the process each year. Here is a summary of the main points on which districts were rated for 2010-11 and how Kettering performed.

  • 26 State Indicators: These indicators include tests scores in a variety of subjects for grades 3-8 and 10, as well as attendance and graduation rates. Kettering once again met all 26 indicators in 2010-11.
  • Performance Index: This number reflects the proficiency of every student. Any score over 100 is considered passing. Kettering earned an index of 102.1 in 2010-11, setting a record for the district.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress: AYP is a federally mandated measure involving the reading and math proficiency of all students in grades 3-8 and 10, as well a measure of several subgroups of students (minorities, economically disadvantaged students, special education students and students for whom English is a second language) in those grades. Attendance and graduation rates also are considered in AYP.  Districts either meet AYP or they don’t.  Technically, Kettering did not meet AYP in 2010-11 because the district did not meet AYP in math with special education students and students for whom English is a second language. However, since Kettering had met AYP in 2009-10, the district will be considered “adequate” in AYP for two years.
  • Value-Added Measure:  Currently, this applies only to grades 4-8; it measures whether or not students have made a year’s worth of progress in reading and math. In 2010-11, Kettering met the Value-Added Measure, achieving a year’s worth of growth overall.