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Vol. 38: Changes to State Report Card

House Bill 591

State Representative Duffey (R)-Distict 21 introduced a bill to make changes to Ohio's current law regulating the state report card. House Bill 591 focuses on reworking the State report card system, which is used to grade school's performance. The goal of the bill is to modify the way in which performance is both graded and displayed on the school report cards. As currently written, this bill would establish seven separate performance measures, meant to give a more in-depth description of a schools strengths and weaknesses: 
  1. State Test Results
    • Includes state achievement assessments, national assessments(ACT, SAT) and end of course exams
  2. Graduation Rates
  3. Student Growth
    • Current language permits use of a value-add model which determines how much academic growth has occurred as a result of one year of instruction.
  4. Gap closing for vulnerable populations
    • Shows how schools are helping students who come from diverse backgrounds
  5. Third-grade reading
  6. College/career readiness
  7. Enrichment and support measures for students in a district

Currently, the state uses a system which gives both individual schools and school districts a letter grade based on their performance.  Advocates for the current report card say that this model is easy to understand.  While the letter grade is easily comprehended, there are many more ways to measure success and effort than simply a letter grade.  

Since 2003, the State of Ohio issues an annual report on each school district's performance, also known as the State Report Card. Components of this report change from time to time, but the method of evaluation invariably has come to focus on test results.  CMSD would like to see a report card which is more comprehensive and transparent.

Ideas we have shared about the state report card include:
  •  Rethinking the Gap Closing Component: Ohio needs an Annual Measurable Objective that measures progress against historical performance of the same or similar schools. 
  • Fix or Remove the Current K-3 Literacy Component: To better this component, Ohio must include a spring to spring performance evaluation time line and reduce the complexity of this component. 
  • A More Balanced Focus on Outcomes: the current focus of the outcomes should expand to include teacher practice and not just student achievement. 
  • Consideration of Engagement Factors: Parent and Student Engagement, or Teacher Equity Measure, though limited in its impact to raise test scores, is still worth including. Educator effectiveness, not just seniority, should be considered when defining teacher equity.
  • Official Explanations that Focus on Growth: In the manner and substance of explanation, the state report card for each district can focus on growth demonstrated by each district thereby giving educators and parents an idea of which schools are working.
  • Include Ratings that Take Into Account Significant and Targeted Improvement: Lower-performing districts need such ratings to identify programs functioning effectively as pathways to long-term growth among students. 
We applaud Representative Duffy for bringing stakeholders together to improve the measure, however, we are still cautious of any legislation that may dilute academic accountability or high expectations for all learners.  We will continue to work with legislators and stakeholders to improve the bill to support these goals.

Photos are courtesy of Cleveland Metropolitan School District
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