Wapak Schools continue to be rated effective on reports

Wapakoneta City Schools continue to be labeled “effective” based on results of state report cards released this week by the Ohio Department of Education, but its performance index improved.
“In general, we’re pretty darn proud of the progress we’ve done,” Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner said.. “We haven’t made leaps, but we’ve certainly moved a couple of steps forward. There are some reasons for celebration.”
For the second consecutive year, the district met 23 or 26 state indicators. There are six designations a school can be labeled based on report card results, with two levels above and three levels below Wapakoneta’s ranking.
District officials noted the district’s performance index climbed from 97.4 for the 2009-10 school year to 99 for the 2010-11 school year. The district met the value-added measure, which it fell below based on last year’s report card results, but continued not to meet adequate yearly progress. Wapakoneta City Schools are in the third year of improvement status.
A combination of the four measures is the basis for assigning state designations to districts and individual buildings.
For percentages of achievement in specific subjects and state indicators by various grade levels, please review the accompanying chart. Additional information may be found at education.ohio.gov.
To meet a test indicator for third- through eighth- and 10th-grades, at least 75 percent of students tested must score proficient or higher on that test. Other indicator requirements include 11th-grade Ohio Graduation Tests with a state requirement of 85 percent, attendance rates with a state requirement of 93 percent and graduation rates with a state requirement of 90 percent.
“Certainly we have areas of concern, but we have areas of strength, too,” Horner said.
He said state report card test results are used when looking at alignment of curriculum and instruction alignment in what should be taught.
“We want to make sure we are teaching the right stuff in the right manner,” Horner said. “There are strengths and weaknesses.”
The performance index, which reflects the achievement of every student enrolled for the full academic year, will become a more important measure in the future, he said.
The index is a weighted average that includes all tested subjects, grades and untested students with the greatest weight given to advanced scores and weights decreasing for each performance level. Advanced students’ scores are calculated at 1.2, while untested students have a weight of zero. With results possible on a scale up to 120, the Performance Index can be compared across years to show district achievement trends.
In calculating the district’s index this year, 36.4 points were given for the percentage of students scoring proficient, 30.7 for the percentage of students scoring accelerated, 23.7 points for the percentage of students scoring advanced, 7 points for the percentage of students scoring basic, and 1.2 points for the percentage of students scoring limited.
“This is very important for us,” Horner said of the Performance Index. “We’ve been on the downward trend but this year we took a nice jump.”
The district achieved above expected growth in fifth-grade math, sixth-grade math and reading, and seventh-grade math. Expected growth was met in fourth-grade math, fifth-grade reading and seventh-grade reading, while expected growth was not reached in fourth-grade reading, and eighth-grade reading and math.
This growth is reflected by the Value-Added Measure on the state report cards and represents the progress a district has made with its students since last school year, rather than just looking at achievement scores, which represent students’ performance at a certain point in time. One year of progress is expected each year.
Horner thanked teachers and students for their efforts. He said more than anything they try to work on assessments of students throughout the year to predict how they will do on the test.
“We’d rather prepare and react to those assessments over shorter periods of time than waiting for the results of one test each year,” Horner said.
The district has met five of six indicators to determine Adequate Yearly Progress. Its met goals in reading proficiency and participation, math participation, graduation and attendance rates, but not in math proficiency. Specifically, math proficiency goals have not been met by the subgroup of students with disabilities.
Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP) is a federally required measure for every school and district with goals applied to 10 student groups, in Wapakoneta’s case, only four groups (all students, economically disadvantaged, white and students with disabilities) are large enough to be required to meet AYP in the different indicators. If any one of the groups does not meet AYP in a specific area then the district fails the measure as a whole. Not meeting AYP for consecutive years has both federal and state consequences, including the district being identified for improvement.
Wapakoneta Middle School is in its fifth year being identified for improvement and listed as in improvement status. A school enters this status after missing AYP for two consecutive years and it can only lose the status after meeting AYP for two consecutive years. Every school listed in improvement status needs to develop a plan for improvement. Being in School Improvement status for three or more years requires more extensive corrective actions and, eventually, restructuring.
Wapakoneta High School met AYP which is an accomplishment of which Horner said he and other school administrators are proud. ACT scores there also are higher than they have been in at least six years, indicating overall achievement in preparing students for the next level.
With an average daily student enrollment of 3,027, more than 41 percent of the district’s students are considered economically disadvantage and 14.5 percent have disabilities.