By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — The Fairborn City School District is taking steps to improve its test scores in light of all Ohio educational institutions receiving report cards Thursday issued by the Ohio Department of Education.
The report card attempts to examine how students performed on state-issued tests during the 2015-2016 school year and delivers a letter grade based on standards that change each year in varying categories.
Fairborn received a D in the achievement category, which measures how well the general population of its students performed on state achievement tests.
Gap closing displays how well districts are “closing gaps” in relation to educating the entire student population, regardless of factors such as poverty; Fairborn received an F in this category.
The K-3 Literacy category measures whether or not students who are struggling to read have improved their skills by the beginning of the following school year; Fairborn received an F in this category.
The progress category on the state report card measures how much growth 4-8 grade students, as well as students taking end-of-course exams, has been made. One year’s growth is expected in math and reading. Fairborn received a D in this category.
The graduation rate reflects how many high school students graduated in four and five years. Fairborn received a B in these categories.
The prepared for success category indicates how well high school students are prepared for life after senior year. It examines factors such as how many students within the district received ACT or SAT test scores that displayed a readiness for college-level work. Fairborn received a C in this category.
“We have an outstanding and dedicated staff,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Sue Brackenhoff said in a press release. “We will work together with data and professional development focused on instructional improvements to best serve our children — and to give our teachers what they need to be successful.”
Taking steps to improve
FCS is taking action to improve its test scores as an entire district and individual schools, as well as for students with specific needs. Some of these steps started in previous years.
As a district, FCS is taking the following steps to improve its test scores in the future, according to a press release by FCS:
– Curriculum meetings in each building to create/update curriculum maps/pacing guides.
– Monthly curriculum meetings with building administrators.
– Data Coach provides assistance to staff with data analysis, test creation and professional development, as needed.
– Weekly early release on Fridays to allow school officials to actively implement the Ohio Improvement Process through teacher based teams/building leadership teams/district leadership team meetings, focused on improving student achievement.
– The district and each building have a written improvement plan with goals and action steps to improve student achievement.
– Using Mastery Manager and other software, there is ongoing design of assessments that parallel state test questions format. Mastery Manager online software is being used for test creation, data analysis and management of testing.
– Students use state practice tests to prepare for question format and rigor of state assessments.
– Common assessments are being developed across the district to ensure that all students are being taught the state content standards with rigor.
– Student Learning Objectives are being written by all teachers that include pre and post tests to measure student growth in content areas.
– Teachers are evaluated by principals, credentialed in evaluation, using the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, which defines what skilled teaching looks like using a rubric.
– Testing blueprints for the state tests have been provided and discussed with teachers. These blueprints inform teachers on the makeup of state tests.
– Meetings are held in every building to discuss testing preparation.
– New textbooks with online resources are being used in science, social studies, and high school algebra and geometry.
– A team from each of our buildings will participate in the Ohio Leadership Academy this year, focused on building leadership capacity as FCS focuses on its school improvement plans.
– Professional development focuses on improving teaching and learning. Topics have included: Understanding Poverty (meeting the needs of all students), Whole Brain Teaching (engaging students), Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (planning & teaching with more rigor), Growth Mindset, Mastery Manager (creating common assessments), How Students Learn Math (online course with more than 40 teachers enrolled). The District Ohio Improvement Plan will help focus on new topics to improve teaching and learning.
– Intervention Assistance Teams in each building.