September 4, 2003


District meets 17 of 22 standards—
Schools rate ‘Effective’ on state tests


The Yellow Springs school system earned an “Effective” rating on the 2002–03 state proficiency test, declining from last year’s “Excellent” rating.

The “Effective” ranking is the second highest available on the test and is based on results of proficiency tests taken by local students last March, when students in fourth, sixth and ninth grades met 17 out of 22 state standards. The state ranking system includes the ratings “Excellent,” “Effective,” “Continuous Improvement,” “Academic Watch” and “Academic Emergency.”

Yellow Springs’ ranking compares well with other Greene County school districts. Greeneview and Cedar Cliff also received an “Effective” ranking, while Sugarcreek and Beavercreek were ranked “Excellent.” Xenia schools received a “Continuous Improvement” ranking and Fairborn schools received “Academic Watch.”

In Yellow Springs, fourth-grade students met the state standards in all of five categories, which are citizenship, math, reading, writing and science, and sixth-grade students met the standards in citizenship and writing. Sixth-grade students fell short of meeting state standards in math, reading and science.

Eighth- and ninth-grade students taking the ninth-grade test for the first time met all standards except math, and ninth- and tenth-grade students taking the ninth-grade test met all five standards.

The school system met the high school graduation rate indicator of 90 percent, which it had not met last year.

Last year, Yellow Springs received an “Excellent” ranking, with students meeting 21 out of the 22 state standards.

Superintendent Tony Armocida attributed this year’s lower ranking to a new state requirement, driven by new federal rules, that the test results of all students, including those with special needs and for whom English is not a native language, be included in each school district’s results.

This year’s fifth- and sixth-grade class at Mills Lawn has 11 special needs students out of 52 students, according to Mills Lawn Principal Christine Hatton.

“If the standards had been the same as last year, we would have met 21 standards,” Armocida said.

Small school systems, such as Yellow Springs and Cedar Cliff, which also dropped from “Excellent” to “Effective,” were especially affected by the new requirement, because a small number of students have a greater statistical impact, Armocida said.

Because a small number of students can skew the test results either higher or lower, “in our situation, it’s always a danger to make too much of the tests one way or another,” Armocida said.

But the schools will continue to work toward meeting all state standards, said Armocida. “We will look at incorporating more state standards in our special ed program,” he said.

Statewide, this year’s test scores in several areas are lower than last year’s, particularly based on the state requirement changes, Susan Zelman, state schools superintendent, told the Xenia Daily Gazette last month. Overall, Ohio students met only 10 of the 22 academic standards.

In Yellow Springs, 75.8 percent of fourth-graders met state standards in citizenship, 75.8 percent in math, 79 percent in reading, 74.2 percent in writing and 83.9 percent in science. The state requirement was for 75 percent of students to meet standards. In sixth grade, 77.8 percent of students met requirements in citizenship, 63 percent in math, 68.5 percent in reading, 92.6 percent in writing and 66.7 percent in science.

Out of eighth- and ninth-graders who took the ninth-grade test, 90.7 percent met standards for citizenship, 74.1 percent for math, 92.6 percent for reading, 92.5 percent for math and 87 percent for science. Out of ninth- and tenth-graders taking the ninth-grade test, 98.2 percent met citizenship standards, 96.5 met math, 98.2 met reading, 98.2 met writing and 98.2 met science.

Overall, the school system had a 95.5 percent attendance rate, above the state requirement of 93 percent.

The school system’s graduation rate was 92.2 percent, passing the state requirement of 90 percent.

—Diane Chiddister