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New Advanced Course Criteria Expected to Increase Course Enrollment, Improve Growth Score

  • 7-12
  • K-6
New Advanced Course Criteria Expected to Increase Course Enrollment, Improve Growth Score

A change in the criteria to qualify for advanced-level coursework in grades 6-8 is expected to yield a significant increase in the number of students automatically enrolled in advanced English Language Arts (ELA), math, science and social studies for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.

Most importantly, this change introduces more rigorous content to more students who demand the extra challenge beginning in sixth grade and up through high school. The move should also improve the District’s previously low progress, or growth, score on the state report card. This priority, among others, was presented following Lakota’s analysis of the 2022-2023 report card results

“[The progress component] is where we really have some work to do,” said Lakota Interim Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli during that presentation at the Oct. 2, 2023 school board work session. Lolli explained that Lakota’s lower score here does not imply that students are not growing. In fact, she said, “In most cases, our students achieved a year’s worth of growth.” But, she explained, progress measures the growth beyond that one year’s value and that is where Lakota needs to focus its work. 

““We need to make sure that we are looking at all students and their growth, and making sure that we’re moving them forward,” Lolli said. 

Lakota’s Director of Gifted Services Lauren Webb specifically points to the negative growth among Lakota students whose achievement scores on the state tests last year categorized them as “advanced.” 

“One of the biggest reasons for this could be that they’re not taking the right courses. They aren’t being challenged enough to grow at the rate they should be growing,” Webb explained.  

The updated 6-8 advanced course qualification matrices, Webb explained, should also have a residual positive impact on the lagging growth component of Lakota’s gap closing report card score. Specifically, this measures how much specific sub-groups of students are growing year over year. 

Most recently and up until this latest change, to enroll in advanced ELA, math, science or social studies beginning in sixth grade, Lakota required students to acquire a minimum point value. A matrix that assigned point values to course grades, Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores, Ohio State Test (OST) scores and InView scores. Students who identified as cognitively gifted or academically gifted because they scored at or above the 95th percentile on a reading or math MAP test received additional points.

Moving forward, that matrix is no longer being used. A student’s performance on the respective Ohio State Test could independently and automatically qualify the student for the advanced class, regardless of a gifted identification. Additionally, the District is using Ohio’s Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), a new predictive tool to project a student’s likelihood of achieving a performance level on a future test. 

“We’re basically casting a wider net to make sure we give all students who can handle a bigger challenge the opportunity to be in the mix of Lakota’s wide range of advanced courses,” Webb said. “This also gets students on that advanced track earlier, meaning they will stay on it all through high school if they continue to be successful.” 

A student’s gifted identification, as well as EVAAS projections, can both be viewed by parents/guardians via their Home Access Center account (via OneLogin)

View the updated 6-8 Advanced Courses webpage for more qualifications details, by subject, as well as a decision guide tool to assist families in making a decision about advanced course enrollment. The updated qualification criteria will go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year and in accordance with the updated Junior School Program of Studies.

  • curriculum
  • gifted