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Strongsville Scores 91 Percent in Reading, Math Proficiency

State report cards spell out where district succeeds, lags

By the 2013-14 school year, a nationwide initiative calls for 100 percent of students to be proficient in reading and math.

A lofty goal, to be sure.

But are already at 91 percent, said Steve Rogaski, director of pupil services for the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County.

And the district's "performance index" has improved every year for the last six years, he said.

"The trend for Strongsville is exactly what we want to see for an 'excellent'-rated district," Rogaski said.

100 Percent of Indicators Met

"Indicators" include having 75 percent of students pass their Ohio Achievement Assessments and Ohio Graduation Tests. Strongsville was "well above the benchmark," Rogaski said.

They also include the attendance rate (Strongsville's was 95 percent last year) and graduation rate (96 percent).

Solid Performance Index 

This measures how well kids did on standardized tests. Of 120 points, Strongsville got 103.6.

Last year, 60 percent of the students got the equivalent of an A or a B on the tests. About 30 percent got a C, and the other 10 percent didn't pass.

Over the last six years, the scores have been consistently going up, Rogaski said: A's have risen each year, C grades and failing grades have decreased.

Minorities, Disadvantaged Kids Struggle Here, Too

While Strongsville, at 91 percent, is making good progress on reading and math skills, the four sub-groups of students that fall below the mark throughout Ohio and the nation are also below par here.

African Americans, kids with disabilities/special ed, economically disadvantaged and kids with limited English speaking ability all failed to match the rest of the district in reading and math.

"Nationwide and statewide, these are the subgroups of children that are underperforming," Rogaski said.

For example, only 71 percent the 63 African American students passed the standardized reading tests last year, as did 63 percent of kids with disabilities and 80 percent of economically disadvantaged kids.

In math, the African American group was a 58 percent, disabled at 50 percent and kids with limited English at 64 percent.

Excellent With Distinction -- Why Not Strongsville?

The quick answer: Once you're performing well, it's harder to show improvement.

To get the "with distinction" label, a district has to show that students' test grades have improved from the previous year. 

The higher your scores, the more difficult it is to show improvement, Rogaski said. For example, if a student scores a 99 percent, and get a 99 percent the next year, that doesn't show improvement, so the district doesn't qualify for the "with distinction" label.

A number of school districts with very high scores, like Solon, have lost the "with distinction" mark because of that, Rogaski said.

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