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District report cards give low marks to Columbus City Schools, high marks to nearby suburbs


A new grading scale for school districts across the state show stark differences in achievement between Columbus, which is Ohio's largest school district, and other nearby central Ohio districts.

The Ohio Department of Education graded every school district in the state on a one-to-five scale in several categories, including early literacy and graduation rates.

Columbus City Schools scored the lowest out of the 49 districts in and around Franklin County, while Upper Arlington and New Albany-Plains scored the highest with 5 stars across the board.

State officials began using the system last year, shifting grading from an A-F scale to a 5-star scale. A score of 3 stars means a district or individual school meets state standards.

Related: Ohio's public schools show gains on report cards, but one in four kids is chronically absent

The system ranks districts based on Graduation and Early Literacy, performance on state tests, and academic growth. It also rates how well the district did at closing gaps in absenteeism, graduation goals, English and math and gifted students' performance.

Other five star districts include Granville Village, Grandview Heights, Bexley and Olentangy.

Other suburban and rural districts all met state standards in Central Ohio. Some of these districts, like Whitehall, did fall short in some categories but met standards in the overall rating.

Here's how central Ohio school districts in Franklin, Licking, Fairfield, Delaware, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties scored for the 2023 school year:

Click here for more information on the school district report cards.

CCS Superintendent/CEO Angela Chapman issued the following statement in a release after the district report cards were released:

"While we are proud of the improvements that our students, teachers and schools have made in the past year, we acknowledge there's more work ahead to align with our Portrait of a Graduate vision, driving our unwavering commitment to improving student achievement. We're dedicated to closing gaps, addressing disparities, and accelerating learning. Our focus is on establishing inclusive structures, with the ongoing support of educators, parents, and community partners."

New Albany Plains Superintendent Michael Sawyers said in a statement that the district was one of only eight districts in Ohio that got 5 stars in all categories. But Sawyers said there are still ways the district can improve.

"Much like other school districts across Franklin County and the State of Ohio, we clearly have strengths and opportunities for continuous improvement, but the increases earned must be celebrated," he said.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.