Changes ahead for local school and district report cards

Just as Ohio is improving the way it evaluates educators by implementing the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, the state also is improving the way it measures and rates the performance of schools and districts.

The 2013-2014 school and district report cards will grade schools and districts in several categories using an A-F letter-grade system, which is easier for parents and communities to understand than the current school performance labels of Excellent with Distinction, Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic Watch and Academic Emergency. The A-F grades will make it easier for everyone in the community to know just how schools and districts are performing.

What is changing?

Previous report cards were based mostly on how well students performed on state tests. While tests still will be a major part of school and district grades, the new report card will show the results in a different way. Schools and districts will receive letter grades in six broad categories:

Achievement of students, measured against national standards of success;

Gap Closing, indicating whether students in all racial and demographic groups are making gains in reading and math;

Graduation Rate, which tells communities whether all students are graduating on time;

Progress, indicating whether students of all abilities are growing academically;

K-3 Literacy, the extent to which kindergarten through Grade 3 students are reading at or above grade level; and

Prepared for Success, which signifies whether students are ready for college and careers.

There will be a grade for each measure within a category, and those combined grades will result in an overall grade for the category. A school or district’s overall grade will be assigned by combining its grades in all six categories.

While grading in most categories begins this coming August, an overall grade for each category and the school and district will not be issued until August 2015. This gives schools time to adjust to the new system and focus their efforts on being successful in all areas being measured.

For more information, including a one-page overview suitable for parents, go to newreportcard.education.ohio.gov