Nearly 60 percent of Ohio school districts receive the state’s top grades of “excellent” or “excellent with distinction,” the equivalent of an “A” or “A-plus.” That’s four times as many top-rated districts as in 2002.
But in a new report, the Ohio Association for Gifted Children says those ratings — which are based largely on how many students pass state standardized tests and on measures of student growth on those tests — are deceiving:
Is it really possible that a majority of districts in Ohio are producing students who perform at extraordinary levels? As it turns out, the answer is a simple and resounding No. Although there are indeed some high-performing districts in Ohio, the standards used to grade districts in this state are shockingly low. The more one analyzes what it takes to be an excellent district, the clearer it becomes that something is horribly wrong with Ohio’s standards for excellence.
You can read the full report here. Its findings include:
- That 67 of the 352 districts rated excellent or excellent with distinction had zero students take AP exams.
- That 109 districts rated excellent or excellent with distinction had average ACT scores below the state average.
- That 160 districts rated excellent or excellent with distinction had fewer than 20 percent of their graduating class receive diplomas with honors.
- That 136 districts rated excellent or excellent with distinction had college remediation rates above the state average.
As we’ve reported earlier, at all levels school performance can vary widely among schools with the same grade on their state report cards. For example:
- A school can get an “A” from the state with only half of its fifth or eighth students passing state math tests.
- A school can get a “B” even if just half of its eighth graders pass state reading tests.
- On the other end of the spectrum, a school can get a “D” from the state even if nearly 80 percent of its eighth graders pass state reading tests.