Writer's Note: This story is the fifth in a series meant to take a closer look at the Ohio School Report Cards and what they entail. Each story in the series will highlight how each of the school districts in Jackson and Vinton counties fared on the 2016-17 Report Card, with this installment focusing on Oak Hill Union Local Schools.
The Oak Hill Union Local School District saw improvements in numerous areas of the 2016-17 State Report Card. Superintendent Mike McCoy stated he was happy with the district's performance despite the ever-changing state standards.
"Although the State is constantly changing the standards and the way they are measured, the Oak Hill Union Local School District has made improvements," he explained. "When compared to other local districts and state district averages, I believe we are performing quite well, though we are always striving to improve."
In the Achievement category, Oak Hill earned a letter grade of 'D.' In the two subcategories of Performance Index and Indicators Met, the district earned letter grades of 'C' and 'F' respectively. The Performance Index measures the test results of every student on six levels (Advanced Plus, Advanced, Accelerated, Proficient, Basic, Limited and Untested) and districts receive points for every student in each of these levels. The higher the achievement level, the more points awarded in the district's index.
Oak Hill had no students in the Advanced Plus category, 18.2 percent in the Advanced group, 20.4 percent in the Accelerated group, 27.5 percent in the Proficient group, 19.4 percent in the Basic group, 14.3 percent in the Limited group, and 0.2 percent were Untested. This equates to 87.8 points out of a possible 120, for an average of 73.1 percent, or the letter grade of 'C.'
As for Indicators Met, Oak Hill students met two of 24 (third-grade math and fourth-grade math).
The biggest area of improvement for the district was in the Gap Closing category, which saw a 38-percent increase from this year to last, according to McCoy. The Gap Closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for some of the most vulnerable populations of students in the areas of English language arts, math and graduation. This component uses Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) to compare the performance of student groups to a state goal which is displayed via charts. These charts show how well each group achieves that goal in English, math and graduation, and emphasize any achievement gaps that exist between groups.
On this year's Report Card, Oak Hill earned a 72 percent, or a letter grade of 'C.'
Another area of improvement was in the K-3 Literacy category, which saw an increase of 11.5 percent. This category was also one that Superintendent McCoy pointed to when addressing the confusing nature of the State Report Cards. For the component itself, Oak Hill had 123 students who were "off track" with regard to their reading levels at the start of third grade. A total of 43 of those students were said to have moved to the "on track" classification by year's end, which equates to 31.7 percent, or a letter grade of 'C.'
This category, McCoy told The Telegram, does not accurately reflect the reading levels of Oak Hill's third graders.
"Since assigning a letter grade (Component Grades) to the different areas (Indicators), the state has made it more confusing and difficult for communities to gauge how their schools are performing," McCoy opined. "A perfect example would be that for the 2016-17 Report Card, the district received a 'C' for K-3 Literacy, yet 98.7 percent of the third graders met the requirements for promotion to the fourth grade."
Overall, McCoy said the State Report Card is not something he and his staff use to gauge success in the classroom.
"As a district, Report Card data is rarely used to assess the needs of our students," he explained. "We have many other assessments and tools that are used by teachers and administrators to better inform us of student progress and address student achievement."
McCoy also stated that he, his administration and all of the teachers of Oak Hill are constantly striving to improve student instruction, and provide a curriculum and educational activities that enrich, encourage and enhance the future opportunities for all of their students.
State Report Card information for individual school districts from across the state can be found by visiting education.ohio.gov/Topics/Data/Report-Card-Resources and selecting the "Find My District's 2017 Report Card" option.