Columbus City Schools showed improvement on the Ohio Graduation Test administered last school year, with some high schools recording dramatic jumps in passing rates.
Districtwide, about 2,700 students took the test for the first time and the passing rate went up for four of the five subjects: reading, writing, science and social studies. The passing rate dropped by less than a percentage point in math, said Machelle Kline, executive director of accountability, in charge of reporting student data.
“We have a positive movement in front of us and we want to build upon that,” Kline said.
The district’s strongest high school academically, Columbus Alternative, continued to lead the pack in overall scores, with 100 percent of its students passing the reading test. Passing rates ranged from 85 percent to 98 percent in the other four subjects.
At struggling South High and Linden-McKinley STEM, students posted huge performance gains.
At South, passing rates for the reading test improved by 31.8 percentage points, to 73.6 percent. Writing shot up 29.6 percentage points, to 71.4 percent. The school made double-digit increases on each of the other subjects, and black students narrowed the gap with their white peers by 4.5 percentage points in reading, 10.7 percentage points in math and 6.8 percentage points in social studies.
Linden-McKinley STEM posted its best results in at least three years, with gains in reading (16 percentage points), math (19.5 percentage points), writing (21.2 percentage points), science (27.4 p ercentage points) and social studies (22.5 percentage points).
Kline credits Diplomas Now, a special program at South and Linden McKinley that offers intense one-on-one support to at-risk students, based on their attendance, behavior and course performance. Diplomas Now connects students with counseling, health care, housing, food and clothing. Young-adult mentors work full time to welcome students to school, call them if they don’t show up, and offer tutoring.
“I really think that is the key,” Kline said. “Kids rise to the occasion. Teachers rise to the occasion. Parents rise to the occasion.”
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