Ohio releases condensed school report cards, OEA pushes for overhaul

Ohio

The push comes after the Ohio Department of Education released the 2020 Ohio School Report Cards Tuesday

School

Credit: krisanapong detraphiphat/Moment/Getty Images

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Leaders with the Ohio Education Association are urging lawmakers to overhaul the state’s annual school report cards.

The push comes after the Ohio Department of Education released the 2020 Ohio School Report Cards Tuesday, which provided less data than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The report cards exclude overall district grades, individual grades, state testing information, academic growth of students and the extent to which achievement gaps are being addressed.

They do give information on graduation rates, “Prepared for Success” indicators and enrollment data in the recent report cards.

The 2020 Ohio School Report Cards, as well as other data for specific schools and districts, can be found here.

Given such limited data, the Ohio Department of Education said it will be hard to determine how well a particular school or district is doing.

“While schools have less information available than in years past, we still emphasize the importance of gauging where students are in terms of academic achievement and using available district data to inform improvement to instruction,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “The education community’s goal is to carry forward the teamwork, collaboration and care we’ve seen since last spring through this new academic year and beyond. We have never been more focused, united and determined to ensure each child is challenged to learn, prepared to pursue a fulfilling post-high school path and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society.”

OEA leaders say this is a good time to make some changes.

“These latest school and district report cards shine a spotlight on the major problems with the entire
report card scheme,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “The fact that the state recognizes that any
2020 letter grades and rankings would be useless without spring testing data proves just how overly reliant the existing grade card system is on standardized tests. If the essential value of the state’s report card system is standardized test results — which do not accurately represent how a student, teacher or school is performing — the state’s current report card system has no value at all.”

“These tests and the algebraic contortions the state’s report card system twists them into have
always been stacked against low-income students, especially. OEA is not afraid of accountability.
But the state must design a fair, informative, and transparent accountability system,” DiMauro said.

Ohio standardized testing was suspended this spring after schools shut down in March due to coronavirus concerns.

The OEA said no educators came to them and said missing the testing was harmful to students.

Under Senate Bill 358, the Ohio Department of Education would have to seek a federal waiver of testing requirements. It would also suspend the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and the fall third grade English test.

The bill would also suspend school and district report card ratings for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, which OEA leaders said they are in favor of.

“Due to COVID-19, school districts will continue to experience barriers to education service delivery and instability in student data (particularly in districts with high concentrations of poverty). It would be misleading and unfair to require report card grades or punitive measures based on report card data during this time,” OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing said.

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