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Ohio Proficiency Test Analysis: School District Performance
The following pages contain information, data, analysis, and summary findings regarding a major study of Ohio school district performance on the Ohio Proficiency Tests. The data are for 593 of the 611 Ohio School districts. Data for 18 districts were excluded due to either missing test scores or because of their extremely small size such as North Bass Island.
This study examines the 593 Ohio districts on all sections of the 1997 grade-level tests and sub-tests (16 sets of scores per district) across more than 40 different variables. All data used in this study are taken directly from the Educational Managment Information System (EMIS) of the State of Ohio (http://www.ode.ohio.gov/www/ims/).
As with any reseach of education and social phenomena, there is always room for interpretation and reflective judgment. While this certainly applies to this particular study, the basic conclusion about district Ohio Proficiency test performance is remarkably clear: Performance on the OPT is significantly related to the social-economic living conditions and experiences of the pupils to the extent that the test appears to have no academic validity whatsoever.
Part of the problem in exposing OPT for what it is (or, is not), rests in the getting people to understand that there are many different variables that affect what and whether a child learns in school. Implicit in the claims and slogans of the right-wing extremists who are using the OPT and Ohio School Report Card to undermine and destroy public education in Ohio is the idea that OPT peformance is determined by one variable-- the teacher. Interestingly, the right-wing OPT proponents are using the test more of an indicator of teacher performance than student performance. The results of my study show that neither student academic learning nor teacher effectiveness are validly measured by the tests.
I will be disseminating the results of this study publicly in late February of 2000. The study and findings will be released with a panel of regional public school educators who have studied the research project. Copies of the study are available online.
The study will also becovered in depth during a graduate workshop to be held this spring quarter at Youngstown State University. The workshop will be open to 50 participants and will allow the participants to examine and analyze data at their own particular district and/or building level. The research study will be presented in concert with Ohio School Report card expectations for each district. The data will be examined in terms of student performance across all variables. In addition, this workshop will provide curriculum and instruction concepts for significantly improving district test performance. For details on the graduate workshop, see Hoover's schedule of classes for spring quarter 2000 here.
The link below will take you to the central table of contents for this study of OPT performance, including the link to the actual study.
Table of Contents