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Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools already working to improve B grade on state report card

October 2, 2018

Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools already working to improve B grade on state report card

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio – Although the Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools received an overall B on its recent state report card, and not an A like some districts, it remains among the top 15 Ohio school systems in at least one category.

That’s what David Martin, Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ director of curriculum and instruction, told the school board last week. He said the district was 14th in the state in the report card’s “performance index” component, which measures how pupils performed on state tests. Last year, the district was 11th in that category.

Martin said the report card, released in mid-September, revealed several strengths of the district and areas where it has grown.

“But we’re not satisfied with a B,” Martin told the board. “We want to earn an A. We have already set the wheels in motion to grow and do that.”

Martin said the district is working to identify and help pupils who are struggling, including those whose academic performance is in the lowest 20 percent in the state.

“That’s the area we’re really going to target,” Martin said.

A in achievement

Martin said the performance index is a key report-card component because, year-to-year, it provides a “bird’s-eye view” of the number of pupils improving their academic performances, from proficient to accelerated to advanced levels.

On this year’s report card, the district scored 106.9 out of 120 possible points in the performance index. The score increased steadily from 105.3 in the 2014-2015 school year after reaching a peak of 108.4 in 2010-2011, according to a chart Martin showed the board.

The district received an A in the “achievement” component of the report card, which includes the performance index.

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools also received A’s in “gap-closing,” which shows how well schools are meeting performance expectations for all pupils, including the most vulnerable, and “graduation rate.”

The district scored a B in “progress,” which considers growth that all pupils are making based on past performances. The progress category is broken down into subcategories, including overall progress and progress for gifted students. The district received an A in both of those subcategories.

However, the district was given a B in the progress subcategory covering students with disabilities and a C in the subcategory covering students in the lowest 20 percent of achievement.

Martin said that according to the numbers behind those letter grades, the district reached the A level in the progress category. The problem is that a letter grade lower than a B in any subcategory lowers the overall grade, under Ohio Department of Education rules.

“This is one of those little bylaws and fine print that the ODE puts in there,” Martin said.

Further, if the district had received an A in progress, it would have scored an A on the overall report card, since progress is 20 percent of the overall grade, Martin said.

Martin said the grade for the progress subcategory of students in the lowest 20 percent has fluctuated over the past three years, from B to D to C. The district is trying to understand why that is happening.

The lowest-20-percent C grade is even more confusing considering the district received an A in “gap closing,” a component that includes vulnerable students. The two grades seem to contradict. Martin added that every school in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights district received an A in gap closing.

Confusing grades

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools received a C in “improving at-risk K-3 readers.” According to the state, 41 percent of district pupils were moved to “on track” in their reading skills but 58.6 percent were “off-track.”

Martin said the K-3 reading grade is confusing because 100 percent of third-graders met the state’s third-grade reading requirement for promotion to the fourth grade.

Nevertheless, Martin said, “We’re trying to come up with some ideas, strategies, action plans to really move this needle.”

Superintendent Joelle Magyar said she is working with state government officials to study this component in an effort to determine what the grade signifies. She said the state is looking to “revamp” the report card to clarify such inconsistencies.

“If it’s confusing to you, it’s confusing to us as well,” Magyar told the board.

The district received a B in “prepared for success,” which looks at how well pupils are prepared for future work, school and training opportunities.

Martin said the “prepared-for-success” component measures the number of pupils who receive “mediation-free” scores on the SAT or ACT, earn an honors high-school diploma or receive “industry-recognized credentials” from schools like Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville.

Martin said the district is working to improve the prepared-for-success score by encouraging more pupils to seek the honors diploma and moving from the ACT to the SAT. He said pupils have experienced a better ratio of success in the SAT as opposed to the ACT.

“It will take time,” Martin said.

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