Analysis of Dayton's charter and district schools: With a forecast of PARCC proficiency

Today, the Ohio Department of Education released "preliminary" school district data for 2011-12 that included all major achievement data components for a district. This is the most complete release of 2011-12 school data to date. However, the data remain "preliminary" until the State Auditor completes his investigation of districts and school buildings who are suspected of tampering with student attendance records. When the investigation is complete, ODE will issue official Report Cards for each distirct.

In this post, and in forthcoming posts, we'll take a look at the ODE data for Ohio's three largest districts: Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, and for Dayton--Fordham's hometown. We assume that the preliminary data (the release of unofficial, unverified data in June, the September release, and the October release) are sufficiently reliable for a city-level analysis of public schools. In addition to an analysis of the 2011-12 data, we also provide a forecast of what proficiency rates for school districts will be when Ohio transitions to the Common Core and its aligned assessment, the PARCC exams, for English language arts and math in 2014-15. 

Dayton Public Schools (DPS) and Dayton’s charter schools continued their long run of mediocre performance in the 2011-12 school year. Anywhere from one-third to over one-half of DPS students failed Ohio’s standardized exam, depending on the grade and subject. In Dayton’s charter schools, the failure rate was slightly less, but still no less troubling. By sixth grade, many Dayton students are well on the pathway toward adult illiteracy: 39 percent of DPS students and 27 percent of Dayton charter students failed to pass the sixth grade reading exam (i.e., scored below “proficient”). Math test scores are even worse than reading.

A few statistics that indicate the struggles of Dayton's traditional district and charter schools include:

  • 55 percent of Dayton Public School students and more than 35 percent of Dayton’s charter school students failed the state’s fourth and sixth grade math exams in 2011-12.
  • 1 out 54 school buildings, charter and district, met the statewide goal of having a performance index score of 100 or better.
  • 0 Dayton Public School buildings and 3 out of 13 charter schools received an “above” value-added rating.
  • A majority of Dayton public school students, nearly 12,000 students (58 percent), attended a school building rated in academic watch (D) or academic emergency (F).

Gainful employment in a twenty-first century economy will demand strong literacy skills and the ability to solve complex math problems, and most of Dayton’s students are simply not equipped for these types of careers. When Ohio moves to the Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, the lack of college and career preparedness will become even more evident. The Common Core is a set of rigorous academic standards in English language arts and math, and aligned to the skills needed for the careers of the future.

How will Dayton’s students perform when these new standards are implemented? Not well, if current academic performance is an indicator. The forthcoming PARCC exams—exams aligned to the Common Core—will challenge students with harder test content and questions; and the standard for passing the test will likely increase also. When these new exams are implemented in 2014-15, we expect a massive fall in the percentage Dayton’s students (and students in surrounding districts), who will be able to pass the PARCC exams. 

Please turn to Section 7 of the accompanying report, where we forecast what proficiency rates will be under the Common Core—for DPS, a few of Dayton’s charters, and some additional traditional public districts in Montgomery County. The results are stark for those concerned with the future of Dayton.

Download: Dayton district and charter schools, Report Card analysis, 2011-12. Plus, a forecast of proficiency rates under the Common Core and its aligned assessments

Update (October 24, 2012): There was a correction made to the 2011-12 aggregate charter proficiency rate that affected figure 9.3 and table 9.4. See below for the corrected version.

Download: Dayton district and charter schools, Report Card analysis, 2011-12. Plus, a forecast of proficiency rates under the Common Core and its aligned assessments (corrected version)

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