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Herman praises Hudson's performance, criticizes state report card's grading methods

by Mike lesko | reporter Published: September 21, 2016 12:09 AM
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Hudson -- Superintendent Phil Herman said he believes Hudson students performed "very well" on the 2015-16 state report card.

"The scores and report card results rank among some of the best in the state," he said.

Herman said he was pleased to see the results under the "Progress" section of the report card, for which Hudson earned an overall grade of A for the component that looks at the growth that all students are making based on their past performances.

The overall grade includes four A grades in the categories of overall, gifted, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities.

"This is significant because under the report card grading system, student scores that represent a year's worth of growth earn a C," he said. "Student scores that represent more than a year's worth of growth earn a B, and student scores that represent much more than a year's worth of growth earn an A.

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"However, it is important that we take these grades into context because many school districts that earned As last year earned Fs this year, and vice versa," Herman said. "The large swings are calling into question the validity of the measures."

For K-3 Literacy, the district received an F (0 percent) in the category of how successful the district is at getting struggling readers on track in third grade and beyond.

He said the report card results indicate the district has room for improvement "in helping our struggling elementary readers get back on track."

"Our elementary teachers do an incredible job of getting the majority of our students to the point where they are not struggling," Herman said. "In fact, based on the report card results, 1,082 of our 1,160 K-3 students were considered on track and 100 percent of our third-graders met the requirements for the third-grade reading guarantee.

"For the small percentage of students who were not on track, we must continue to analyze our practice and get better at helping them become excellent readers," he said.

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Herman said while the district welcomes accountability, he said he has "serious concerns" with the metrics that were used for the Achievement measure and believes there are flaws with the reporting of the K-3 Literacy Measure.

"I, and many other superintendents from around the state, have concerns with the amount of standardized testing being required of our students, repeated changes to the assessment platform (three different platforms in three years) and continuous changes in the reporting system," he said.

"The purpose of sharing these concerns is not to complain or make excuses, but instead to encourage [residents] to explore what information is behind each letter grade," Herman said, adding the purpose also is to understand that, "as a state, we must continue to improve our accountability system and explore the measures that lead to long-term student success."

Overall, Herman believes Hudson students are doing "outstanding" in school.

"Guided by supportive parents and dedicated teaching staff, our students continue to excel, not only in standardized measures, but also in the fine and performing arts, athletics, student leadership and community service," he said. "While there are not as many measures for elementary schools outside of the state report card, our PK-12 program continues to generate students who are performing at very high levels when measured against national benchmarks."

Herman said this year, Hudson will recognize 18 seniors as National Merit Scholars.

"They rank above the 97th percentile of over 1.5 million PSAT test-takers in over 22,000 high schools last fall," he said.

He said the ACT scores from the Class of 2016 are "equally impressive."

"We just learned that our ACT average mean composite score for the class of 2016 is once again above 26," he said. "In doing so, we were able to maintain a very high 95 percent participation rate which ties the second highest on record. Ohio's composite score of 22.0 did not change."

Herman also mentioned that Newsweek ranked Hudson among the top 500 public high schools in the nation in August.

"In fact, we ranked No. 94 in the country, No. 3 in Ohio and No. 1 in the northern half of the state," he said.

Other categories on the state report card include:

In Achievement, the district received an overall grade of B that includes an A for indicators met (93.1 percent) and a B for performance index (85.6 percent). The category includes the number of students that passed the state tests and how well they performed on them.

For Graduation Rate, the district received an A. That includes an A grade for students graduating in four years (98.0 percent) and an A grade for students graduating in five years (99.2 percent).

For Gap Closing, the district received a B in the component that shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable populations of students in English language arts, math and graduation. The district scored 82.7 percent in annual measurable objectives.

In Prepared for Success, the district received an A in the category that measures how well prepared students are for all future opportunities, whether it is training in a technical field or preparing for work or college.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9436

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