Ohio school report cards 2013: Districts learn if they're making grades from Ohio Dept of Education

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Schools in some Ohio districts haven't even opened yet, and it's already report card day.

Ohio school districts are getting report cards on their performance last year.  And, there are changes. 

There are no more Excellent, Continuous Improvement, or Academic Emergency ratings. Everything is a letter grade now. 

So just as students can get an "A" in English or a "C" in math, schools will now get letter grades on things like graduation rates, attendance, and student performance on state tests.

Brooklyn City Schools Superintendent Cynthia Walker said the state is changing the game with factors like attendance that schools can't control. In one of the performance categories, Brooklyn received a preliminary grade of "B". But that grade was lowered to a "C' because they missed the attendance mark by just a hair.

"I believe it's a misrepresentation because I believe that we should be looking at student progress and student progress over time," Walker said.

She said she believes the state is sending a mixed message.

"We're going to hold you accountable. OK. Hold me accountable for what I can control.  Don't hold me accountable and then penalize me, in fact, for things that I can't control."

This year, the new grading system will only tell educators and parents how districts are doing in nine of 18 areas. But there will not be an overall grade for the school district until 2015 to give them time to adjust to the new system.

You can find out whether your school is making the grade at http://5.wews.com/oayoX or get more information on the grading at  http://5.wews.com/oaLQW  (The website has been experiencing some technical problems)

The breakdown of the components and what they measure is as follows:

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

Progress: The data from state tests over multiple years are examined through a series of calculations to produce a "Value-Added" designation for each school and district. Additionally, the tests also are examined to determine progress of three specific groups of students (gifted students, students with disabilities and students in the lowest 20 percentile)

Graduation Rate: The Four-Year Graduation Rate includes as graduates only those students who earn a diploma within four years of entering the ninth grade for the first time. The Five-Year Graduation Rate includes those students who graduate within five years of entering ninth grade for the first time.

Gap Closing Of  Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs): This  measures the academic performance of specific groups of students, such as racial and demographic groups. Each of these groups is compared against the collective performance of all students in Ohio. This will allow educators to determine if there are gaps in academic achievement between groups of students.

K-3 Literacy Improvement: This  measures how well schools and districts are helping young students, in grades kindergarten through third grade, who are reading below grade level.

Prepared For Success: This measurement looks at how students are taking advantage of opportunities to progress with their education. The state looked at things such as: 

  • College Admission Test (participation rate and percent receiving non-remediation score)
  • Dual Enrollment Credits (percent earning at least three credits)
  • Industry Credentials (percent of students with a credential) 
  • Honors Diplomas Awarded (percent of students with an Honors Diploma)
  • Advanced Placement (participation rate and percent scoring three or above)
  • International Baccalaureate Program (participation rate and percent scoring four or above)

In addition to improving the way they evaluate districts, educators hope this new system improves the way the ratings are communicated.

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