The Ohio Report Card system for evaluating and “grading” local school districts is embarking on some major changes. These changes will not revamp only how a school system is evaluated, but they will also affect the evaluation of teachers as well as what areas of study students are expected to focus on and master.
Essentially, the Ohio Report Card system of evaluation will transition from the previous system, which used a range of single ratings, such as “Excellent” or “Academic Emergency,” to a new letter-based grading system. According to the Ohio Department of Education, The new Ohio Report Card will ultimately give school systems a letter grade (A-F) in six different areas of focus, and then combine these to award the school system a single overall grade.
The changes will be phased in over the course of several years. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, Ohio schools and districts will begin receiving letter grades. By the 2014-2015 school year, schools and districts will also receive the one overall grade.
The Ohio Department of Education explains the news system on its website. http://education.ohio.gov It explains the six components will be the basis for the grading system.
The six components which will be evaluated on the new report are:
1) Achievement: This will measure absolute academic achievement versus national standards.
2) Progress: This will measure the average yearly improvement for every individual student.
3) Gap Closing: This looks at how well a district and its schools are narrowing gaps in areas such as reading, math and graduation rate among students with varying socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, or disability status.
4) Graduation Rate: This component measures the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade and were successful in graduation in four and five years.
5) K-3 Literary: This measures the reading improvement for students in grades kindergarten through three.
6) Prepared for Success: This component measures the readiness for college or a career of students who graduate.
In an online quote, Dr. Keith Kelly, Superintendent of Schools for the Mayfield School District, notes that there are challenges in this grading system.
“Preliminary reports have shown that virtually all school districts in Ohio, including Mayfield, could see a dip in previous 'excellent' ratings, and it will be more difficult to obtain an 'A' rating.” http://www.mayfieldschools.org
He also notes that the new system could cause confusion for Ohio communities. Parents should stay informed about their own district as these important changes are phased in.