Sunday, June 03, 2001

Kings test scores are top-notch


District is expecting highest state ranking

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP — With Thursday's release of fourth- and sixth-grade proficiency test scores, Kings Schools officials believe they will move into the state's top ranking — held by fewer than 5 percent of Ohio's schools — when Ohio Report Cards are issued next January.

        Scores of the fourth- and sixth-graders in all five subjects were above the state's 75 percent passage rate to meet state standards. Those scores, school officials say, are enough to move the district to the “effective” ranking — the state's highest. Only 28 school districts in the state were rated effective on the 2001 Report Cards, down from 30 the year before. In Southwest Ohio the distinction went to only six — Indian Hill, Madeira, Mariemont, Mason, Sycamore and Wyoming. They represent 4.6 percent of Ohio's school districts.

        “We've succeeded,” Superintendent David Query said. “We know our ninth- and 12th-grade scores are OK. These make us an effective school (district). Although we feel we were effective before, this is positive proof. We're excited. It puts us where we strive to be.”

        Schools are put into one of four categories based on proficiency test scores, attendance and graduation rates. Preliminary test results show Kings students met the state standard of 75 percent passing all five subjects at both grades. The fourth- and sixth-grade scores ranged from a passage rate of 76 in fourth-grade science to a high of 94 in fourth-grade writing.

        When Ohio's 2001 Report Card was released in January, Kings met 22 of the 27 criteria, putting it in the “continuous improvement” category, the second-highest. Official rankings for the 2002 cards won't come out until next January, after state officials review the collected data from the 2000-01 school year. Although attendance and graduation rates won't be known until next month, Kings officials say they believe those will remain above the state standard.

        “Obviously these are preliminary numbers,” said Linda Oda, district spokeswoman. “We feel real confident we're at 27. The worst we can do is 26 and either way we're effective.”

        Mr. Query attributed the district's success to the hard work of the students, staff and curriculum leaders. Under the guidance of Assistant Superintendent Richard Bell, staff development has improved and teachers from different grade levels and buildings now discuss problems or weak areas and then brainstorm ways to improve instruction.

        The district realigned its curriculum with state models five years ago, Mrs. Oda said.

        The news of the fourth- and sixth-grade successes comes a few weeks after district officials learned that 73 percent of its seniors had passed all five sections of the 12th-grade proficiency test — the highest passing rate in Warren County.

       



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