The Buckeye Valley School District’s superintendent said he finds the Ohio Department of Education’s school report card confusing due to conflicting data.
“Public schools value data that is going to help us get better,” said Andrew Miller. “This data and report card just doesn’t do that.”
Miller said he would like to see a report that gives specific areas that the district is doing well in and areas that need focused on. “What I’m not for is getting a 32-page report card with a guide to interrupt it,” Miller said. “It kind of says, good luck making sense out of it.”
The Ohio Department of Education’s website states the report cards were released September 15 for the 2014-2015 school year. The state grades schools on six components of expectation, Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success.
“I don’t know how you can be above average and still get an F,” Miller said. “It’s confusing because of conflicting data.”
Miller said the state’s report card use to give information for areas of needed improvement. He said the district had put time and money into their gifted program because it was an area the community wanted to improve. “I think what is missing is some of that specific data that says this where you need to focus your time with your students,” Miller said. “Now you get information that you missed your gifted indicator.”
Miller said he finds the report to be frustrating, but hopes that over time it will become better.
“We get recognized for being in the top 10-percent for ACT scores for the state, but our kids can’t pass the end-of-course exam in geometry,” he said. “It’s just a mixed bag.”
Miller said, last year the district achieved 32 out of 33 indicators. This year the district only achieved 14 out of 29. “Essentially last year we were good, but apparently this year we’re not good anymore,” he said. “I think we’re better than this report card.”
Trying to explain the report card to parents is something Miller finds hard to do.”There’s so many pieces of data that conflict with one another,” he said. The report card is confusing.”
Instead of solely relying on the state report card Miller said the district is looking at the possibility of developing a report card of their own. He said the district wants to work with its Student Achievement Group to conduct a survey with the community to see what it thinks is important. “Is it the ACT scores or the percentage of the kids that go onto a two or four year college?” Miller said.
Miller believes this is the first time across the state that superintendents have gotten together encouraging people to talk with their local legislators. “I think there will be more of that,” he said. “In Delaware County, the superintendents meet monthly and we’ve talked about our report cards.”
“I hope this will be a base point in moving forward,” Miller said. “That the state will be responsive in what they are hearing from people and make changes so we can end up with something that isn’t so complicated and is a little more meaningful.”
“I think before this report card, Delaware County was the highest-achieving county in the State of Ohio,” Miller said. “I think less has changed about the schools and more has changed about the measures.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.