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State releases report cards under new grading system

(Toledo News Now) -

The state of Ohio has released report cards for the first time since instating the 'A' through 'F' grading system.

The new system ranks buildings and districts, sets new performance criteria and replaces labels, such as "excellent" and "continuous improvement."

The next generation of assessments has begun and more is planned through 2016, according to a timeline on the Ohio Department of Education's website.

According to the department, the following categories will be graded:

1. Achievement: How a school or district's academic achievement compares to national standards

2. Progress: Average annual improvement of each student (whether a student gained more or less knowledge and skills over the course of a year)

3. Gap Closing: Progress made in narrowing gaps in reading, math and graduation rate among students, according to socioeconomic, racial, ethnic or disability status

4. Graduation Rate: Percentage of students who graduate in four or five years after entering ninth grade

5. K-3 Literacy: Improvements in reading for students in kindergarten through third grade

6. Prepared for Success: How ready high school graduates are for college or a career

Many schools are bracing for the worst. If the new system would have been in place last year, some schools would have received 'A's, while others would have received 'F's. 

At first glance, two 'A's, one 'B,' one 'D,' and four 'F's may look terrible, but TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant says it's not as bad as it seems. In the achievement category, the district received a 'D' in its performance index and an 'F' in 'indicators met.'

Progress made with math and reading (for students in grades four through eight) received an 'F' overall, but gifted students earned a 'B.' TPS students in the lowest 20 percent of achievement statewide earned an 'A' for progress with math and reading, and students with disabilities earned an 'A.'

TPS received an 'F' in the gap closing category, as well as in the category of graduation rates for four-year and five-year students.

Despite a batch of mixed reviews, Durant says the district has actually improved.

"In the areas of graduation, the areas have went up. If you look at our reading proficiency, in nine areas we went up," said Durant.

Even though the district has made improvements, Durant says he's not satisfied with the results. His goal is for the district to have all 'A's. 

"It's going to take a collective solution. That every child from the birth age, that every child by the time of 9 months, the achievement gap can be looked at. Instead of waiting until the students are 6 or 7 years old and are in our doors and it's too late," said Durant.

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