I’ll be the judge of that!

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BRUNSWICK, OH- We all know what our own report card looks like and what we are being evaluated on, but have you ever stopped to take a look at how our own school is being evaluated? Every year, the high school is graded in five areas along with an overall score to determine where Brunswick is doing well and where we could be doing better. However, the effectiveness of the report card does not match the feelings of students and educators.

The district receives scores for all students attending a Brunswick Public School, and the district received a B. Brunswick High School received an overall score of a C. The overall score is determined by the more specific areas in the report. We will start with where the state views the school is going wrong. The school received a D for achievement.  

The Ohio Department of Education explains, “The Achievement Component represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall. A new indicator measures chronic absenteeism.”

Chronic absenteeism is students who miss more than 10% of the school year. Those students are then compared with the total students to determine if the school has a problem with 10% of the student population being chronically absent.

The school is performing below the state average on End of Course exams in three out of the seven areas. Geometry and government were within two percent of each other, but algebra suffered the most with a passing rate of 32.5% compared to the state average of 60.5%. However, we are above average on the other four exams, and we are only truly struggling in the one math area.

Mr. Geschke from the Board of Education explains, “We provided all of our teachers at the beginning of the year with an item analysis of the end of course exam. It gave them every standard that the test deals with, and sample questions for the test, and the results of students from the past year for every standard.”

The school is taking steps to improve the high school math program as well as give the teachers the support and assistance they need. The majority of students currently at Brunswick that were surveyed about the achievement component gave the school a B. This two letter grade trend runs further than the achievement component.

Progress is the next component for which the district received a letter grade of a D. This includes the progress of gifted students, the lowest 20% of the class, and students with disabilities. When students were polled, the majority concluded the district should receive a B in the progress component. Worst of all, the district does not specifically know how to improve their score because the state does not release how they calculate the subgroups. In other words, the district could take an initiative to what they would believe would improve these areas, but the score would remain the same because the state may not weigh this initiative as an effective improvement.

Prepared for Success is the last category where we received a D. The data is actually worse for this category because it uses 2016 and 2017 graduating classes. It does not include students who are still in high school taking the ACT and/or SAT or any AP scores earned by current students. As it is well documented, these programs have surged over the past two years with the use of the PSAT and new AP programs. The students surveyed had an average of a B for this category.

Both the graduation rate and gap closing component where assessed the same by students. The graduation rate received an A, and the gap closing component received a C. Gap closing is something that the district has put a major emphasis on. This is especially displayed in the improvements made for students with disabilities throughout the district.

Geschke states, “We are hitting the state goal for this part of the gap closing, but we need to consistently work to improve our learning opportunities for students with disabilities. The goal for each of the subcomponents will only continue to rise, so we must be doing the same.”

For students struggling economically or being a racial minority, the school not only makes the goal set by the state, but it exceeds the goal. The school and district are very proud of this and continues to make sure that financial status or race does not put students at a disadvantage.

Finally, the overall score the students gave the high school was a B. This is a whole letter grade better than what the state gave the school. The students are not calculating the numbers into an algorithm, but they are drawing from their experiences with Brunswick to determine the score they give. It most certainly is personal because it is their education on the line.

The report card does not measure what we are currently doing, but rather what we have done in the past. It is in no way an indicator of how teachers should be teaching the current classes, but it is showing them how they should have taught in the past. It is not accurate nor does it have timely data.

Most of all, the state report card is for political capital. The more A’s your district receives, the more money the schools receive. Thus, the rich schools get richer, while the poor schools continue to live in poverty. This is not just a poor allocation of funds, but it is an injustice and disservice to the students who are born into poverty. Their education or lack thereof continues to stay stagnant, so the cycle will continue to repeat itself.

So what can you do? Call your representative. Get educated by looking more into our report card. Figure out what other states are doing. Be an active citizen!