Ohio

Eye on Education

Districts Caught Up In Data-Scrubbing Scandal See Ratings Falter

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COMEDY_NOSE / FLICKR

The Ohio Department of Education has lowered the ratings of six school districts which previously misrepresented student performance.

The action is a follow-up to the State Auditor’s finding that schools around the state “scrubbed” test results from lower performing students before submitting their data to the state.

The affected districts include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo, as well as more than a hundred schools within those districts.

Some saw their state report card letter grades drop two levels. In Northridge – a district in the Dayton area—it also had to reimburse the state $28,000 for a bonus it scored two years ago.

The Ohio Department of Education is taking a voluntary approach to discipline of individuals involved.  ODE spokesman John Charlton says letters have been sent to 30 educators involved in withdrawing students, asking them to surrender their license.

“We did have one person so far take us up on that, a superintendent who had previously retired anyway,” Charlton said.  “He went ahead, and just said `Yeah, I’ll surrender my license.’ And it saved him $10,000 in court costs, and taxpayers the costs in investigation.”

Toledo and Cleveland withdrew the most students from its test data but didn’t have their grade lowered.

Of the 143 schools being issued new, recalculated grades, only two – both in Cincinnati – saw their ranking improve.

Charlton says state educators are reviewing recommendations by the state auditor, to ensure future data from Ohio schools is both secure and accurate.

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