Better education through comparison.
That’s the thought behind a state law that requires the Ohio Department of Education to rank every public school and school district in the state based on students’ performance on standardized tests. The rankings include traditional public schools as well as charter schools, joint vocational school districts and STEM schools.
School districts across the state have touted their top rankings, or faced news stories about their low rankings. But there’s tremendous variation among the 936 school districts ranked in the draft list released in November.
This week StateImpact Ohio will take a look inside those draft 2011 Ohio school rankings.
Today: Urban districts.
- Hamilton City School District north of Cincinnati is Ohio’s top “major urban” district.
- Columbiana Exempted Village School District south of Youngstown is Ohio’s top plain-old “urban” district.
To group districts, we applied the Ohio Department of Education’s categories of school districts to the official draft rankings. The department identifies two types of urban school districts: “Major urban” districts, which are districts encompassing Ohio’s major cities; And plain-old “urban” districts, which are districts located in small or medium size towns and cities that have very high poverty rates. You can find definitions for these categories here.
Shocker: Poverty Hurts Ranking
In general, districts’ rankings are directly related to how many low-income students they enroll. Even just looking at the rankings of urban school districts, for most (but not all) of the districts in the top 25 percent, less than half of their students are from low-income families.
But some schools and districts with high proportions of low-income students are among the top-rated. For example, the Steubenville school district in eastern Ohio is one of the state’s top urban districts even though two-thirds of its students come from low-income families. (We talked with a Stuebenville principal about the district’s success last week.)
For every single district in the bottom 25 percent of urban school districts, low-income students make up more than half of their enrollment.
Ohio School Rankings: Major Urban Districts
|2||Cleveland Heights-University Heights City||Cuyahoga||87.32||5,907|
|14||East Cleveland City||Cuyahoga||74.35||3,182|
Ohio School Rankings: Urban Districts
|1||Columbiana Ex Vill||Columbiana||104.65||1,004|
|7||Hubbard Ex Vill||Trumbull||101.91||2,115|
|12||New Philadelphia City||Tuscarawas||100.88||2,985|
|15||Reading Community City||Hamilton||100.13||1,597|
|24||Indian Creek Local||Jefferson||98.63||2,215|
|26||Newton Falls Ex Vill||Trumbull||98.37||1,410|
|31||Rittman Ex Vill||Wayne||97.78||1,128|
|40||Martins Ferry City||Belmont||96.51||1,565|
|42||South Point Local||Lawrence||96.25||1,823|
|43||Port Clinton City||Ottawa||96.20||1,818|
|45||Chesapeake Union Ex Vill||Lawrence||96.17||1,442|
|47||Washington Court House City||Fayette||95.76||2,321|
|54||New Miami Local||Butler||94.84||770|
|58||Mad River Local||Montgomery||94.16||3,461|
|62||St Bernard-Elmwood Place City||Hamilton||93.48||974|
|68||Xenia Community City||Greene||92.50||4,761|
|74||Bridgeport Ex Vill||Belmont||91.90||761|
|75||Fairport Harbor Ex Vill||Lake||91.82||526|
|78||Crestline Ex Vill||Crawford||90.62||702|
|79||Windham Ex Vill||Portage||90.58||655|
|83||Ashtabula Area City||Ashtabula||90.22||3,936|
|87||New Boston Local||Scioto||88.42||437|
|90||North College Hill City||Hamilton||87.59||1,595|
|95||East Liverpool City||Columbiana||86.33||2,212|
|98||Garfield Heights City||Cuyahoga||84.55||3,823|
|102||Painesville City Local||Lake||84.00||2,979|
|105||Maple Heights City||Cuyahoga||82.38||3,793|
|106||Mount Healthy City||Hamilton||81.90||3,567|
|117||Warrensville Heights City||Cuyahoga||71.49||1,956|
What You Should Know About These Draft Rankings:
- The ranking is based on a school’s performance index, which is a weighted average that looks at the whole range of student performance on state tests, from the percentage of students who fail those tests (or aren’t tested at all) to the percentage passing and beyond, to the students acing the tests. So to calculate the index, the Department of Education multiplies the percentage of students at each level (failing, passing and so on) by a number: 1 for the percentage passing, more for students doing better and fractions for students scoring at lower levels.
- Because the current accountability system measures minimum competency, it is hard to differentiate among districts that are closely ranked.
- While the state report cards that schools and school districts receive each year look at both state standardized tests scores and other measures, including graduation rates and how much students learn in a particular year, these rankings look at a single measure of school performance: standardized test scores.
- These rankings are a preview of how this system will be developed. The final rankings will be released by September 2012.
- There are many schools that do not currently have a performance index. The Ohio Department of Education is developing the criteria that will be used to rank those schools.