Do not read too much into these report cards

LISBON – Anyone looking for the new state report card system to provide a clear way to compare school districts will have to wait until 2015.

That is when the state will begin measuring overall performance by issuing letter grades of A through F for each district.

But the results of the new report card released Thursday did include letter grades for the first time to measure performance in nine of 18 categories, some of which were used in the old report card system. The old system eschewed letter grades and instead used labels such as “excellent,” “effective” and “continuous improvement” to determine a district’s overall performance.

It is difficult to compare districts under the new report card system without an overall grade, which state School Superintendent Richard Ross told the Associated Press may be a good thing.

“The new report card system is not a ‘gotcha.’ And they need to understand that if a school or district gets a lower grade than expected, that doesn’t necessarily mean students got a poorer education there than they did the year before. But what it does mean is that the school and district will have to work to meet new, higher expectations,” he said.

Although Ross discouraged the news media and others from trying to come up with a way to score the new report card before 2015, the Morning Journal sought to do just that. It compares districts by giving each points according to the letter grades for the nine categories, with four points being given for an A, three points for a B, two points for a C, one point for a D, and no points for an F.

Following is how may points local school districts tallied under this scoring system, with the number of As in parentheses:

– Beaver Local, 28 (3)

– Columbiana, 25 (2)

– Crestview, 28 (3)

– East Liverpool, 17 (1)

– East Palestine, 13 (0)

– Leetonia, 22 (2)

– Lisbon, 23 (1)

– Salem, 24 (3)

– Southern Local, 18 (0)

– United Local, 26 (2)

– Wellsville, 20 (1)

– Minerva, 26 (2)

– South Range, 24 (3)

– West Branch, 28 (3)

The academic performance index, which was carried over from the old report card system, measures strictly student performance, with 120 being a perfect score. Following were the API scores local districts under the new report card:

– Beaver Local, 99.3

– Columbiana, 103.3

– Crestview, 99.6

– East Liverpool, 88.9

– East Palestine, 94.3

– Leetonia, 98.2

– Lisbon, 99

– Salem, 98.8

– Southern Local, 96.1

– United Local, 100.6

– Wellsville, 96.1

– Minerva, 98.6

– South Range, 105.9

– West Branch, 100.4

When a draft of the new report card system was made public last year, it showed that every school district in the county would have received a lower overall score had it been in place in 2011. This is part of the state’s move to incorporate more rigorous academic standards into the revamped report card. In 2012, under the old report card system, six of the 11 school districts received “excellent” ratings, or the equivalent of an A.