Monday, September 26, 2016

Nearly all Ohio middle schools flunk 8th-grade reading test | The Columbus Dispatch

Nearly all Ohio middle schools flunk 8th-grade reading test | The Columbus Dispatch:

Nearly all Ohio middle schools flunk 8th-grade reading test


Under a new system that was designed to raise the bar to ensure that kids are prepared for college and jobs when they graduate, Ohio apparently is experiencing a middle-school reading crisis.
Almost 96 percent of Ohio’s traditional public schools and more than 97 percent of charter schools failed the state standard for eighth-grade reading, meaning that too few of their students were deemed proficient on the just-released state report cards. With fewer than half of Ohio eighth-graders testing at proficient or above, it was the worst category of any of the proficiency tests for students in the third through eighth grades.
The previous year, more than half of traditional public schools and more than a quarter of charters met the state’s standard for eighth-grade reading, which required at least 68 percent of eighth-graders in a school to be proficient in reading. In the meantime, the test changed and so did the bar for passing: Now, at least 74 percent of students must test as proficient for a school to pass.
But even under the old measure, 9 in 10 schools would have failed this year.
Among 68 central Ohio middle schools administering the test, the median drop, year over year, was about 24 percentage points. Five dropped more than 40 percentage points: Columbus City Schools’ Berwick Alternative K-8, Preparatory School for Girls and Sherwood Middle School; South-Western’s Norton Middle School; and Westerville’s Heritage Middle School.
Projections reviewed by the state Board of Education in June show that the Ohio Department of Education knew what was coming, that slightly more than half of eighth-graders would be proficient in reading. The actual proficiency rate was worse: 47 percent.
“The expectation from the board was that, for all these assessments, there would be lower levels of performance than there was previously,” said board member C. Todd Jones.
Jones is confident that, given time, educators will dig themselves and their students out of the hole.
But many local school officials say the new numbers don’t make sense.
“It can’t be that 96 percent of the school districts in Ohio all did an equally bad job of teaching that content and that grade level,” said Jennifer Wene, chief academic officer at Worthington schools. “Or another way to say it: 96 percent of the teachers in Ohio who teach grade 8 (reading) are ineffective.”
A Dispatch review of state testing records showed that 819 district middle schools out of 856 received a failing grade on eighth-grade Nearly all Ohio middle schools flunk 8th-grade reading test | The Columbus Dispatch:


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