Ferry school officials look at report cards

MARTINS FERRY The Martins Ferry school board heard reports on local report cards for the three buildings Monday, as well as plans to improve the students’ performance. Superintendent Dirk Fitch pointed out that the evaluation is not conclusive.

“One thing to remember at this point: until 2015 there is no overall score,” he said. “Right now there are just nine different scores.”

He pointed out trends, noting issues with math and writing that must be improved.

The 2013 achievement results for Martins Ferry saw 17 out of the total. They met highly in reading and math in third and fourth grades.

Fitch added that the passing score was 75. Some scores that did not measure up came as close as 74. He noted that next year the passing bar will be set at 80.

Fifth grade reading saw a score of 80.4. Math was 69.6.

“That’s been a constant headache for us, fifth grade math. We know that’s an issue,” Fitch said.

Fifth grade science was 73.5, still above the state average. Sixth grade reading was 90.3, while sixth grade math was 78.8. Seventh grade reading was 74.5. Math was 73.5.

Reading at the eighth grade level was 94.1. Math was 68.9. Science was 89.1. The 10th grade scored 88.3 in reading, 80 at writing, and 89.2 at math with social studies at 87 and science at 82.7.

Reading at the 11th grade was 93.3, but writing was below passing at 83.8, with math at 93.3 and social studies at 86.5 and science slightly below passing at 84.6.

Regarding the performance index, the district scored particularly high with 98.9 points out of a possible 120 for 82.4 percent and an improvement over the prior 97.2 points.

“What that is telling us is that our higher ed kids are doing better work,” Fitch said. “We’re getting more students in the advanced and accelerated ranges.”

Fitch also noted that the district’s value-added score stood at a D, which he said is a matter for concern. He also pointed out the needs of low-economic and special education students.

He added that the district ranks favorably compared to others.

“Comparatively speaking we’re doing a good job, but we can always do better. It’s a new test and a new form of how we’re giving the test,” he said. “Overall, we’re not happy with the results, but comparatively speaking we didn’t do that bad.”

High School Principal Jeff Oberdick reported a good start to the year with few issues in the freshman class. Among seniors, the average ACT score was a point and a half higher than the year before. He added that he was pleased with the testing, with math, science and reading scores ranking second highest in the county. The performance index scored a B with 82.2 with many students in advanced and accelerated learning.

He pointed out that while 11th grade results were at 85, 18 percent of the class are identified with learning disabilities and many of them are passing the test.

The writing scores have been their lowest for two years in a row. Oberdick noted the educators are meeting with teacher-based teams to incorporate writing into all areas of the curriculum. In addition, all of the departments have common planning periods to discuss issues.

He added that the school will likely have need of another special education teacher in the future.

Speaking for the middle school, Principal Michael Delatore reported the need to find more time for math.

“We’re trying to find ways to raise that performance index and look at our scheduling,” he said. “We’re going to have three days of math intervention and one day of language arts intervention, so that’ll be three extra class periods for math.”

He hopes to schedule two language arts and two maths for next year rather than the current two language arts and one math. This may mean adjusting the flex period. In addition, the teachers are working with a math coach.

“The fifth grade math is the hardest of all the tests,” he said. “Our guys were higher than the state average. We’re still not at 75, but that’s our constant goal.”

Elementary School Principal Jim Fogle reported successful scores at all grade levels, with the performance index improving from last year’s 103.5 to 105.8. Five out of five state indicators were met. The building also scored at A in value-added. Assistance and after-school programs will continue.

Fitch commended the principals and staff for their work.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com