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One Hardin County school saw its passage rate on the Ohio Graduation Test jump by 14 points from the previous year, but another district’s overall passage rate fell by nearly 20 percent.
The Ohio Department of Education recently released the results of this spring’s OGT testing of the state’s sophomore classes. The students are tested in math, writing, reading social studies and science and those who don’t pass a subject are given additional opportunities throughout their junior and senior years to pass all sections of the test to qualify for a high school diploma.
Ada High School’s individual subject passage rate was tops in four of the five areas tested, but Riverdale’s sophomores outshined the rest of the county schools with 81.8 percent of its students passing all five subjects on their first attempt. That is an increase over last spring’s OGT results for Riverdale, which saw 76.5 percent passing all subjects.
Riverdale students also set the pace in the science portion of the test with 88.1 percent of the students testing at proficient or higher. The Falcon sophomore class also had the most students considered at the top “advanced” level in the mathematics section of the test with 52.2 percent at the highest level.
“We have a strong sophomore class from top to bottom,” said Riverdale Principal Terry Huffman. “I knew our scores were good, but I didn’t realize they were that good. This is a pleasant surprise. This class will have a lot of success. It will be a pleasure to have them with us for the next couple of years.”
The results were even more surprising, said Huffman, because of the reduction in the teaching staff at Riverdale.
“If we keep cutting teachers, we will see an impact on scores eventually,” he predicted. “Our academics at Riverdale are very strong despite the cuts. The results of the test are very gratifying.”
Ada sophomores set the highest county standards in reading, with 97.2 percent at proficient levels or above; math, where 95.8 percent of the class passed the test; writing, with 93.1 percent passage and social studies, in which 93.1 percent passed.
“We are very proud of our students and teachers,” said Ada High School Principal Robin VanBuskirk. “Their hard work has paid off. We continue to provide an excellent education to our students at Ada.”
The passage rate of all five tests at Ada was just below Riverdale at 80.6 percent and represented a drop from 2011, when the district had 86.8 of its sophomores pass all sections of the OGT.
Hardin Northern saw an improvement it its overall passage rate, which went from 52.6 a year ago to this year’s 56.3. Kenton’s overall passage rate went from 70.7 in 2011 to 68.1 for this year’s class. Ridgemont was consistent with 59.5 percent passing all subjects this spring, compared to 61.1 percent in 2011.
The biggest drop in scores came from Upper Scioto Valley, where the percentage of sophomores who passed all five subjects fell from last year’s 68.3 percent to 49.1 percent this year.
The district also was at the bottom in county results in each subject tested.
“I’m very disappointed in our scores,” said USV High School Principal Craig Hurley. “I’m not going to make excuses.”
Instead, said Hurley, he and new superintendent Dennis Recker are mapping out a plan to re-evaluate the school’s curriculum and “get things going the best we can.”
In addition to the passage rates, the Ohio Department of Education also shares the level where students tested perform. They range from the highest level of “advanced” and fall through five steps, ending in “basic”.
Districts with high “basic” levels included USV with 29.1 percent at the lowest level in writing and 27.3 percent in science. Hardin Northern has 28.1 percent of its sophomores who tested at “basic” level in science. Ridgemont’s sophomores were at the low end of the science scores with 23.8 percent testing “basic.”
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer