By Lynne Phillips
A preliminary look at what New London students have accomplished on the state assessments was shared with board of education members during Monday night’s meeting by superintendent Brad Romano.
He told the board in three categories the district is within two or three percentage points of the state average and in many others they are significantly higher.
Citing the state average in Algebra I of a 52 percent passage rate, Romano said, “The district is at an 84 percent passage rate. We are 32 points above the state average.” He noted in the state assessments students are encouraged to retake the tests as many times as they need to in order to accumulate enough end of course points to reach graduation. “Our complaint has always been that the students who are retaking the tests achieve success at a lower rate than those students who are taking the test for the first time.” He added, “There is supposed to be a indicator on the state report card that breaks out the first time test takers with repeat test takers. The 84 percent represents our first time test takers.”
Another highlight of this year’s assessments, according to Romano, is fifth grade English Language Arts.
“We had 75 percent of our fifth graders pass that assessment. The state average is 70 percent. That same group of students had a 59 percent passage rate as fourth graders.” He pointed out, “There was a tremendous amount of growth going from 49 percent passage to 75 percent passage.
“While realizing 80 percent is our indicator,” he said, “where it stands right now the state is still working on finalizing some numbers. We are meeting two of our indicators. As a district we are not happy with meeting only two of the indicators, our goal is to meet all of the indicators on the assessments, but we have also put a lot of time into moving towards that rate.
“We are seeing positives out of our state tests,” he stated.
“Our third grade math in 2015-2016 we had a 61 percent, in 2016-2017 at 67 percent passage rate and 2017-2018 at 65 percent. We are seeing some relatively strong numbers out of our students, but we are not quite at that 80 percent passage rate.
“In government we are at a 85 percent passage rate and that is a three year high for us. We have gone from 73 percent to 75 percent to 85 percent,” he commented.
“Our history had a very good showing at 72 percent. It should be a bit higher, as there a couple of appeals that have filed with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
“Fifth grade science remained very strong at 79 percent. We had 80 percent last year, but based on our testing population at that grade level we are one student away from meeting our indicator.”
Using a group of fourth grade students who have been tracked over time, Romano said when those students were in the third grade 46 percent of them passed the third grade English Language Arts test. In the fourth grade they had 65 percent passage, a growth of 13 points. That isn’t 13 kids, it is 13 points. That is a lot of growth in students in a single year. In the fifth grade 75 percent passage of those students who in third grade had 46 percent passage rate.”
While not all of the news about the state assessments is positive, the district’s goal, according to Romano, is to identify trends and gaps in student learning and find successful ways to support students, teachers and staff.
The State Report Card is expected to be released in September.
Board president Domenic Maiani requested an annual update on intervention strategies and how they are working.