State education department rolls out report cards for local districts

How did your district do?
TNS Regional News
Aug 23, 2013

 

The Ohio Department of Education launched a new report card grading system Thursday that the state superintendent says will better identify schools’ weaknesses and create transparency and understanding for taxpayers and parents.

In previous years, schools and districts received ratings of “excellence,” “effective” and “continuous improvement.”

The new rating system will, however, place a letter grade on six broad categories, called components. Within those six components, nine measurements total will receive letter grades.

(NOTE: For a look at local district and school results, see Friday's Norwalk Reflector.)

Dr. Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction for the ODE, said looking at the new letter grade results have been revealing.

“In April when we did simulated report cards, we found one district that was rated excellent with distinction that last year, got three A grades,” Ross said. “It also got two Bs, three Cs and finally an F for performance of students with disabilities.”

Ross noted that several districts that received the same rating had as many as three F grades based on the new system and as many D grades.

“That says something about the school district’s effectiveness,” Ross said. “It shows us that not every boy and girl in a district that is receiving the highest rating is getting the education they deserve.”

The six components that are on the new report card are:

1. Achievement: This component measures absolute academic achievement compared to national standards of success.

2. Progress: This component measures the average annual improvement for each student (i.e., whether a student gained more or less a year of knowledge and skills each year).

3. Gap Closing: This component measures how well a school or district is doing in narrowing gaps in reading, math and graduation rate among students according to socioeconomic, racial, ethnic or disability status.

4. Graduation Rate: This component measures the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade and graduated in four and five years.

5.K-3 Literacy: This component measures the improvement in reading for students in kindergarten through grade three.

6. Prepared for Success: This component measures whether students who graduate are prepared for college or a career.

Ross said this year, no districts in Ohio received all A’s or all F’s, but were at all points in between.

“I want to be clear and I want schools and parents to understand, the new report card system is not a gotcha,” Ross said. “They need to understand that if the school or district gets a lower grade than expected, that doesn’t necessarily mean students got a poor education there than they did the year before. But what it does mean is the school and district will have to work to meet new and higher expectations.”

Overall grades for schools and districts will not be implemented until 2015, Ross said, until all components for grading are successfully implemented. By 2016, the ODE plans to have 18 different areas of measurement that aims to give a comprehensive picture of schools’ effectiveness.

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By Michelle Goodman - The Ironton Tribune, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Ironton Tribune (Ironton, Ohio)

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