Ohio’s state auditor is investigating whether Ohio schools throughout Ohio may be changing student attendance data to prevent students who should be counting towards schools’ state ratings from actually counting.
It’s a big deal.
Here are three things you should read about it.
1. The Toledo Blade’s explanation of what the districts are accused of or have admitted to doing:
Ohio schools receive preliminary results from state standardized tests and can alter data to correct errors before the final report. Districts are allowed — and in fact are expected — to throw out the test scores of students who are not continuously enrolled from October through the testing dates in March and May. Some students leave for other schools, some drop out, and schools aren’t required to count their scores.
But Toledo, Columbus, and the Lockland districts appeared to have gone beyond those allowances. [Read more...]
2. The Columbus Dispatch’s slightly shorter explanation of what was or may have been happening:
The Columbus district is accused of singling out students who had been absent a lot, withdrawing them while they were actually still enrolled, deleting their absences and then re-enrolling them. Toledo schools admitted that they’d been doing the same thing. That maneuver allowed schools to throw out the students’ test scores because they hadn’t been continuously enrolled throughout most of the school year. It would have altered school performance by falsifying attendance rates and artificially boosting overall test results.
3. WKSU’s explanation of how the state auditor’s investigation will work:
Auditor Yost plans to sample districts around the state and says he wants to complete his investigation by fall.
“The reason for that is we’re coming up on a fall election and there will be districts around the state that will try to make their case to the voters that they need a levy. And we don’t want the folks that have been playing by the rules to have a cloud hanging over them, we don’t want them tarred with the same brush as those who have been playing fast and loose.”