Report cards not worthy of time investment

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]



CEDARVILLE — Comparing it to a game of table tennis, Cedar Cliff Local Schools Superintendent Chad Mason had some stern words for state educators regarding proficiency testing after the release of report cards Sept. 14.

“I choose to look at the results, good or bad, put them aside and go work with students, teachers, and principals — that is a far better use of my time,” he said. “With relatively new tests once again and a new higher benchmark for passing those standardized assessments, it is no surprise many school districts across the state experienced a significant drop in their local report card scores. This then feeds the narrative of how horrible public schools are. Then, over time, as many talented teachers, administrators, and staff begin making progress, the headline seldom reads, ‘Ohio public schools performing well.’

Quite the opposite, the headline usually then reads, ‘State assessments too simplistic, standards too low.’ This is the game of state testing; the state puts out difficult, if not impossible, goals for many districts, and schools perform poorly. That way, anti-public school politicians can shout from the highest mountain how ridiculous it is to fund public schools. Then, when progress begins taking place and scores begin rising, the state makes it extremely difficult again so we have yet another reason to criticize. Using our students as pawns in this political ping-pong is simply wrong, at best.”

Cedar Cliff Local Schools didn’t see any dramatic change compared to last year in six components: Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success. The district received one A, one B, two Cs and two Ds. Last year it had one A, one B, two Cs and one F. K-3 Literacy was not rated last year because of the low number not on track, but it received a D this year as 23.8 percent went from not on track to being on track.

Cedar Cliff received a C for Achievement, but the performance index — which measures the achievement of every student, not just whether or not he or she reaches “proficient” — went from a C (79.7 percent) to a B (81.5 percent). The grade for indicators met went from a D (65.5 percent) to an F (45.8 percent), but the requirements went up for the second straight year.

Gap Closing, which shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math and graduation, improved from an F (50 percent of the objectives met) to a D (69.6 percent).

The district received a B in Progress, which looks closely at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances. Are students gaining a year’s worth or growth? Are they gaining more or less? It includes the progress of all students, gifted students, the lowest 20 percent of students in Achievement and students with disabilities.

The 4-year and 5-year graduation rates again received an A and had nearly identical scores: 4-year rate of 96.1 percent this year, down .1; and 5-year rate of 96.2 percent, .5 higher.

Cedar Cliff received a C in Prepared for Success — a newer component which looks at how well prepared students are for all future opportunities — reflecting no change from last year.

“(The results) does not adequately reflect the quality education taking place in Cedar Cliff Local School District each and every day,” Mason said.


By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.