County test scores on the rise

Most districts’ overall score improved by a letter grade

By McKenzie Caldwell - [email protected]

Every year, the Ohio Department of Education scores each school district in the state for their performance the previous school year. The scores are based on data reported by each district. There are six components: Achievement, Progress, Graduation Rate, Gap Closing, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers and Prepared for Success.

Most school districts in Highland County saw an improvement in their overall scores, but all five Highland County districts received a grade of “F” in the Prepared for Success category. However, according to localsuperintendents, all data on success preparedness comes from the districts’ performance a few years ago, not from last school year. The remaining categories rely on how the districts performed during the 2018-19 school year, specifically focusing on test scores for each grade level and each subject.

According to the Ohio Department of Education:

The Achievement component measures students’ performance on state tests.

The Progress component compares students’ past test scores to current scores to measure growth.

The Gap Closing component measures how well schools are able to close the gap between students with economic disadvantages and students without economic disadvantages in English language arts, math, and graduation.

The Graduation Rate component represents the number of students who complete high school with a diploma in four or five years.

The Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers component tracks students’ reading abilities from kindergarten to third grade.

The Prepared for Success component represents how well a school district prepares students for life after graduation regardless of their plans after high school.

To see a breakdown of each school district’s scores, go to and enter the school district of interest in the search bar.

Bright Local

Bright Local’s overall score went from a “C” in 2017-2018 to a “B” in 2018-19.

Bright Local Elementary Principal and Acting Superintendent Michael Bick said, “We’re very proud of our scores. We did very well in Graduation [Rate], Gap Closing, and Progress, and we’re making strides in those areas. Of course, we have a ways to go. There’s always room for improvement. [You have to] keep striving and moving forward, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Bick is serving as acting superintendent because former Bright Local Superintendent Ted Downing passed away Sunday.

Bright Local received “As” in Graduation Rate and Gap Closing and a “B” in Progress.

Fairfield Local

Though Fairfield Local’s overall score was a “B” for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, Fairfield Local superintendent Tim Dettwiller said that they’re not going to give up on scoring an “A” overall.

”We were very happy that we stayed at a ‘B,’ but we’re not satisfied,” Dettwiller said. “Our goal all along has been to move up to be one of the few school districts in Ohio that has an ‘A’ overall. We’ve got many things that we put in place to get to that goal.”

Fairfield Local scored an “A” in Progress and “Bs” in Gap Closing and Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers.

“We were one of few schools that met the gifted indicator,” Dettwiller said. “We completely revamped our gifted services for last year, and it paid off for us. Our lowest 20 percent performing students and students with disabilities, we met those indicators, and that’s very difficult to do, so we’re very pleased with our special education department as well.”

Fairfield Local adopted a new English curriculum for the 2018-19 school year. This school year, it has added three more reading specialists to its staff help itsr students achieve better reading levels. Fairfield Local is also formally adopting a new math curriculum for the first time in 15 years.

”Everything we do as far as all these changes we’re making on the academic side, we’re trying not to change our culture. We feel it’s one of the best in the area. We want to keep that right where it’s at, but yet you still have to push to make changes that you know will academically improve the experience [for the students],” Dettwiller said. “I feel very confident we’re going to get to that ‘A.’”

Greenfield Exempted Village

Greenfield Exempted Village’s overall score rose from an overall “D” in 2017-18 to a “C” overall in 2018-19. Greenfield Superintendent Quincey Gray told The Times-Gazette she’s very proud Greenfield was able to improve its score.

“We’re happy with our Progress rating,” Gray said. “[The Progress category represents] value added, that is how students are growing. It looks at your most at-risk students and your highest [performing students], and we got an ‘A’ in that.”

Gray said the district has worked hard to improve its Graduation Rate and Gap Closing scores, which were both “Bs” for 2018-19. In the coming years, the focus is going to be on improving its Achievement score, which was a “D” for the 2018-19 school year.

“I really want to recognize our staff,” Gray said. “They’re really working hard to support our students educationally. We were very proud of going from that overall ‘D’ to an overall ‘C,’ and I think they need recognition for that.”

Hillsboro City

Hillsboro City went from an overall “C” in 2017-18 to an overall “B” in 2018-19.

“I know we’re not where we need to be as far as meeting indicators, but as far as the [Progress] and the Gap Closing and the [Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers], we’re improving, and we’re making strides to [meet the state indicators],” Hillsboro Superintendent Tim Davis told The Times-Gazette.

Hillsboro received “As” in Gap Closing and Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers and a “B” in Progress. Davis said that this school year and in the years to come, Hillsboro is looking to improve chronic absenteeism and gifted programs as well as improving its Prepare for Success score.

“Our teachers and administrators have been working very hard to collaborate and prepare each and every day, and we’re excited with the growth that we’re making,” Davis said.

Lynchburg-Clay Local

Lynchburg-Clay Local went from an overall “C” in 2017-18 to an overall “B” in 2018-19. Lynchburg-Clay Superintendent Brett Justice told The Times-Gazette that Lynchburg-Clay was in the top 20 percent out of the 863 schools in Ohio.

“I think we did very well this year. We continue to do a lot of professional development. I think we made great gains this year. The teachers worked very hard,” Justice said. “We have a staff that is very competitive. They work hard with the kids to help them be sucessful.”

Lynchburg-Clay received “As” in Graduation Rate and Gap Closing and a “B” in Progress. Justice also saidt Lynchburg-Clay has been working with the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center to provide its teachers with professional development to target the areas the district as a whole needs to work on.

“We started focusing on what type of questions are asked and how [are they] worded, and applying that back to the everyday,” Justice said. ”Whenever we decide we’re going to test a student in a normal classroom setting, we make sure we’re using the terminology that’s used at the state level.”

Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.
Most districts’ overall score improved by a letter grade

By McKenzie Caldwell

[email protected]