COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Education has released its school report card results and very few school districts did well.
Many school districts and parents are upset about these grades. The report cards seem to be confusing, even to the school districts, their superintendents and parents of students.
This year, districts did not receive an overall letter grade score, as they have in years past. Rather, schools were judged on 10 different measures, categorized in six components for the 2015-2016 school year — Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success. The state gave each school 16 different grades, including how many kids graduate, how well elementary kids can read and one called “overall preparedness.”
No schools in Columbiana, Trumbull or Mahoning counties received an “A” grade in the “indicators met category.” But some of those same schools received “A” or “B” grades in other categories.
Mahoning County’s schools received mixed results in the multiple categories. Canfield and Poland school districts have a “B” in the indicators met category, while Austintown, Campbell, Sebring, Struthers and Youngstown received failing grades. Meanwhile, Austintown received an “A” grade in the overall value-added grade category.
While some are left scratching their heads to figure out what these results really mean, the Ohio Department of Education published a 32-page guide on its website to fully understand the grades.
South Range Schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham said districts will likely be sifting through the data for some time.
“I think the casual observer, and I think me as a superintendent or other schools’ officials, teachers, it’s really hard to understand what all the grades mean,” he said. “So, you really have to drill deep and try to determine what does that mean for us as a district, and more importantly, what does it mean for the students that scored in those categories?”
Lowellville Local Schools received a “D” in indicators met and an “A” in overall value-added grade. Lowellville Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene Thomas said he is pleased with his results, overall.
“Instead of typically what research supports — three to five years to reap the success of your hard work, we saw tremendous gains and excellence this year,” he said.
The lower scores that many schools did receive didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
Prior to their release, superintendents across the Valley warned parents not to worry about their child’s standardized testing report card, saying that they were expected to decrease from previous years as a result of a change in tests used to calculate scores. They also pointed out that the state has changed the test students take three times in three years.
The state’s superintendent of public instruction said the state “raised expectations for students.”
“This year’s report cards and the grades we’re seeing reflect a system in transition,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said. “They reflect new tests, higher achievement targets and more challenging expectations. Improvement is happening, and with time, it will begin to show on the report cards. There are many ways that parents and communities gauge the success and improvement of schools and districts — the report card is one of them. At the same time, we know schools and districts will use these report cards to have discussions about performance and make decisions about instruction and improvement strategies.”
Grades and complete data for all of Ohio’s school districts, including community and other schools, can be found at reportcard.education.ohio.gov.