Graduation tests show increased proficiency

Significant gains are reported in Springfield and in Mechanicsburg.

Many local educators said that while the results are encouraging, they are only preliminary and are still being reviewed for accuracy. Districts may still contest their scores.

The data show Springfield City Schools improved in every category, while Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District also made significant improvements.

Overall, most districts appear to have improved compared to 2010.

The test, which is taken in March, evaluates Ohio sophomores in reading, math, writing, science and social studies.

Students can re-take sections of the test if they don’t pass on their first try. They are required to meet proficiency in all sections before they can graduate.

In Springfield, 66.7 percent of sophomores met proficiency in reading in 2010, compared to 71.6 in 2011.

In writing, 67.2 percent met proficiency last year, compared with 71.7 in 2011.

“We are very encouraged to see that Springfield High student scores show improvement in every category of the important state-administered OGT tests,” said David Estrop, superintendent for the district. “These results are only tentative, but encouraging. Our entire community has been engaged in increasing student achievement, and if these results hold up, we look forward to celebrating not only at Springfield High, but throughout our whole community.”

Mechanicsburg also made significant improvements in sections of the test. About 84.5 percent of Mechanicsburg sophomores were proficient in the math section of the test in 2010. This year, 94 percent of students passed that section of the test.

Bobby Moore, the district’s most recent superintendent, recently took a job as senior director of client engagement at Battelle for Kids, a national non-profit organization.

But Moore said early data shows Mechanicsburg will meet all but one of its indicators when state report cards are released later this year.

The elementary school also improved its ranking, Moore said.

He said the district was able to improve its rankings by rearranging schedules to provide more teaching time and by providing additional intervention for students struggling in math and reading.

“We just don’t accept excuses,” Moore said.

He also noted that the best way to evaluate whether the students have really improved is not to compare this year’s sophomores to last year’s class.

Instead, he said districts should compare the OGT data to data collected when students completed the Ohio Achievement Assessment test in the eighth grade.

When they were in the eighth grade, Moore said this year’s sophomores failed to meet a single indicator on the OAA.

But the same students showed dramatic improvement when they took the OGT two years later.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0355.

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