- By Jeremy P. Kelley Staff Writer
Kettering City Schools ranked high in student attendance and outperformed its peer group on state tests, according to the state report card released this month, but college graduation data was less encouraging.
The Dayton Daily News is analyzing local school districts’ report card results in more detail. The report card starts with state test score data, but also includes details about teaching staff, attendance, ACT scores and more.
Highs and lows
** For each school district, the Ohio Department of Education creates a unique list of “similar districts” based on size, economics and other factors. Kettering students scored at a higher proficiency level than their “similar districts” on each of the 23 state tests, according to the report card.
** Kettering’s student attendance rate for 2016-17 was 95.9 percent, ranking the district just outside the top 5 percent in the state, and behind only Oakwood and Brookville in Montgomery County.
** Only 29.5 percent of Kettering’s class of 2010 graduated from college within six years, according to state report card data. That put Kettering far behind neighboring Centerville (60 percent) and Beavercreek (49 percent), plus behind Miamisburg, Eaton, Troy and several others locally.
“We are very proud of the improvements and progress we made with our Kettering students in the past school year,” Superintendent Scott Inskeep said. “This is a commitment we made to our community last year, and I can’t say enough about the efforts put forth by our staff and students to live up to this commitment. At the same time, we are always working toward even greater improvement.”
On the report card’s primary letter grades, Kettering got four C’s and two B’s (the B’s in graduation rate and student progress). The results were more mixed on a school-by-school level.
In achievement, the basic measure of how students did on state tests, seven schools earned C’s, while Prass, Indian Riffle and Orchard Park elementaries got B’s, and Greenmont received a D.
In Progress, which measures year-over-year growth, Southdale earned the district’s only “A,” and seven schools got B’s. Prass received a “C,” and Beavertown and Greenmont got D’s.
The school’s K-3 Literacy improvement scores were tightly bunched – an even mix of B’s and C’s. But gap closing — which measures whether certain categories of students by race, income, etc., narrowed achievement gaps with the school as a whole – was all over the map, from A’s at Oakview, Prass and Indian Riffle, to F’s at Beavertown, Greenmont and Kettering Middle School.
Kettering teachers averaged 17 years of experience, putting them in the top 15 percent of districts statewide, according to report card data. They averaged a $65,961 salary, which also puts the district in the top 15 percent, about $100 more than Centerville and $1,200 less than Beavercreek.
As in many districts, Kettering evaluators did not rate any teachers at the lowest level of “ineffective” in the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. There were 52 percent in the top level of “accomplished,” and 46 percent in the next level of “skilled.” The last two percent included some labeled “developing” and some whose evaluations were not completed.
Prepared for Success
Kettering earned a “C” in the prepared for success category, which measures a variety of high school metrics.
More than 22 percent of its students scored a 3 or better on at least one advanced placement test, ranking Kettering fourth of 40 local school districts.
On the flip side, only 2.7 percent of Kettering students earned qualifying industry credentials, ranking the district in the bottom 25 percent locally.
Kettering was more in the middle of the pack locally on the percentage of students who earned honors diplomas (18.5 percent) or got dual enrollment college credit (33.9 percent).
Only half of students took the ACT college entrance test, but that could be because a much higher percentage of Kettering students took the less-popular SAT (42.3 percent) than at most local schools.
Odds and ends
Under Ohio’s third-grade reading guarantee, 99 percent of Kettering third-graders met the requirements for promotion to fourth grade.
Kettering’s report card was slightly better than last year. Four of the six primary letter grades stayed the same, but K3 Literacy Improvement rose from a “D” to a “C,” and gap closing improved from an “F” to a “C.” Graduation rate declined 0.1 percent, and performance index rose more than 2 percentage points.
Inskeep said Kettering is committed to improvement on the report card, but its priority will be on “fostering strong academic, service and extra-curricular opportunities to meet the needs of the whole child.”
“While we support accountability, the State Report Card provides only a snapshot of the many accomplishments and successes of our students and the dedication of our staff members to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of our diverse student population on a daily basis,” he said.