Graham superintendent: Report card data cannot accurately reflect learning

Graduating seniors at Graham High School participated in a graduation parade through St. Paris in May. The seniors were led by a Champaign County Sheriff's cruiser as they traveled from St. Paris to Christiansburg and around to all the small towns in the school district. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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Graduating seniors at Graham High School participated in a graduation parade through St. Paris in May. The seniors were led by a Champaign County Sheriff's cruiser as they traveled from St. Paris to Christiansburg and around to all the small towns in the school district. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The superintendent for Graham Local School District said the data for the district in the state’s most recent school report cards “cannot accurately reflect the learning."

State school report cards were released last week, and districts did not receive a letter grade but instead only got numerical data.

“Without the complete set of data, the percentages cannot accurately reflect the learning occurring in Graham Local Schools,” said Superintendent Brad Silvus. “There were too many variables that were outside of our control due to COVID that make the data unreliable. We look forward to getting back to a more consistent year that will provide accurate data that we are able to utilize moving forward.”

The report cards only contain a handful of normal data points as the spring 2020 state tests in English, math, science and social studies were canceled after mid-March coronavirus-related school closures.

“With the COVID-19 closure and cancellation of spring testing for 2020, there is far less data available for analysis. The report card has many areas that are not able to be measured as a result of this. It is difficult to compare without having this state level data. The district values data to drive instruction and for future planning,” Silvus said.

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Graham scored the second-highest four-year graduation rate in Champaign County at 95.8%, an increase to last year’s 93.3%, and a five-year graduation rate of 94%, according to state report card data.

The state report card’s four-year graduation rate data applies to students in the class of 2019 who entered ninth grade in the fall of 2015 and graduated by the summer of 2019. The five-year graduation rate data applies to students in the class of 2018 who entered the ninth grade in the fall of 2014 and graduated by the summer of 2019.

“Graduation seems to be one area that is accurately reflected in the data and we are proud that this is continuing to improve,” Silvus said. “Our graduation rate continues to improve, and did this past year as well... The district is dedicated to seeing this number continue to rise each year."

When it comes to the prepared for success component, which is how well-prepared students are for future opportunities, Graham scored a 35.8%. This includes ACT and SAT participation, dual enrollment credit and honors diploma.

According to state report card data, 86 students earned a remediation free score on all parts of the ACT or SAT, earned an honors diploma, and/or earned an industry-recognized credential.

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This includes that 92.9% of students took the ACT, 21.8% of students earned a remediation free score, 9.5% received an honors diploma, 4.4% received industry-recognized credential and 42.2% participated in earning three or more dual enrollment college credits.

Silvus said the district continues to offer programs and opportunities for students in the prepared for success areas.

“Last spring there were many students not able to complete some of these areas due to cancellations, such as ACT/SAT tests, AP tests, and so forth. These numbers directly impact the prepared for success percentage," he said. “The district has identified district goals aligned to an increase on ACT scores for all Graham High School students. We are also working to increase the number of offerings available for industry recognized credentials that our students are able to earn while at Graham Local Schools.”

According to state report card data, 54.2% of the 2017 graduating class entered college within two years and 29% of the 2013 graduating class graduated from college within six years of leaving high school.

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