Alder scores dip in two areas

By Jane Beathard

July 17, 2014

In a school district accustomed to excellent scores on all state assessments, a “B” is hard to take.

But Misty Swanger, curriculum director for Jonathan Alder Local Schools, said Monday the district earned a “B” in two categories of the 2013-14 state report card. It was the first time Alder scored less than a top rating in any testing field.

The categories — performance index and number of indicators met — are based on results of last year’s Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) tests and the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT).

Results of seven additional categories will be posted by the Ohio Department of Education in August, Swanger said.

She blamed the dip on toughening state standards.

“We have remained constant, but the state is raising the bar,” she told board of education members.

Eighty percent of students must now score “proficient” or higher on OAA and OGT tests in order to meet state indicators. The previous benchmark was 75 percent. Alder students averaged 76 to 78 percent.

Alder met 20 of 24 indicators for 2013-14. An indicator is the percentage of students who scored proficient or higher in every OAA and OGT subject, Swanger said.

The OAA is administered to students in grades three to eight. All are tested in reading and math. Fifth and eighth graders are also tested in science.

Currently, the OGT is first administered to high school sophomores. It tests their knowledge of reading, writing, math, science and social studies, Swanger said.

In other meeting business on Monday, school board members:

• Approved a $106,000 contract with XTech Partners to install wireless communication at Jonathan Alder high and junior high schools, as well as Monroe Elementary School.

• Approved the 2014-15 student parent handbook for the district.

• Approved a shared services agreement with Fairbanks Local Schools to employ treasurer Aaron Johnson. Johnson splits his work time between the two districts.

• Scheduled a special board meeting for 7:30 a.m. on July 28 to hire a junior high school principal.

Former principal Chris Piper resigned in June after accepting a position as superintendent at Triad Local Schools in Champaign County.

Alder Superintendent Gary Chapman said his office received 31 applications for Piper’s job.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.