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State Report Cards Are Out, But They Look Much Different This Year

An empty hallway at a middle school in Westerville
Karen Kasler
An empty hallway at a middle school in Westerville

The annual state report cards on Ohio’s school districts and buildings are out – and they’re missing a few key elements this time. 

There are no letter grades for either districts or buildings, no grades on individual performance measures, no information on student academic growth or on achievement gaps between groups.

State school superintendent Paolo DeMaria said that’s because federal and state tests were suspended after schools were shut in mid-March.

“The fundamental data that’s included in state report cards is based on those assessments that are taken at the end of the year. So without that, there’s really very skeletal – the legislature directed us to include only those things for which we had data, and that’s not very much," DeMaria said.

The report cards do show a half a point move up in the statewide graduation rate, and more students meeting the “Prepared for Success” measure, such as scoring well on college entrance exams, earning honors diplomas or securing industry recognized credentials.

And DeMaria said it’s unclear what report cards might look like next year, since decisions are still being made on federal and state testing and full-time in-person learning for all schools.

“The state board of education took a position on changes to the report card. I hope to see continuing dialogue about what the long term report card construction and structure looks like, and I think that will have to take some of these issues into account," DeMaria said.

Gov. Mike DeWine has also said he's open to the idea of making changes to the report cards.

The A-F grading system went into effect in 2012, and critics have called it both too simplistic and too complicated.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.