Eye on Education

HB 555: What the New Ohio School Report Cards Could Look Like

Under a new, proposed school report-card system, Ohio schools would not get an overall grade on their performance for the next two school years, but would instead get a single grade in each of seven areas.

But for the 2014-15 year, schools would get overall grades under a new school report-card system. That system could make it tougher to get top grades. (Students will also be taking new, tougher Common Core standardized tests in 2014-15.)

Under the new system, measures that don’t currently “count” towards state grades could count for a school’s overall grade. Those measures could include college enrollment rates, how much progress high school students make in a given year, and some measure of how well younger students are learning to read.

The new system would also switch from current labels such as “continuous improvement” and “effective” to an A-F letter grade system. An attempt earlier this year to reshape Ohio’s school report-card system failed in the face of opposition from schools. Much of that opposition had to do with the fact that three-fourths of all school districts and charter schools would have seen their grades drop.

This second attempt (HB 555) leaves some details — like the scores required to get B’s, C’s, D’s and F’s — up to the state Board of Education. So it’s hard to make that comparison this time around.

House Education Committee Chair Gerald Stebelton told Gongwer News Service he expects changes to the bill as it moves through the process. But he says he hopes to have the bill voted on by the full House by the end of November and passed by both chambers by Dec. 31.

The House Education Committee meets again tonight and tomorrow to discuss the legislation.

Here are the seven measures that would be included on the new 2012-13 report cards:

[Read the entire bill here]

  • Annual measurable objectives: This is the “new” Adequate Yearly Progress, which measures measures progress towards meeting the federal, No Child Left Behind standards.
  • Performance index: The performance index is a weighted average of standardized test performance. Ninety-two or higher would be an “A.” The state board would determine the benchmarks for other levels.  (Last year, about 90% of school districts met that proposed “A” benchmark.)
  • Performance on the Ohio Graduation Tests: A passing rate of 92 percent or higher would be an “A.” The state board would determine the benchmarks for other levels.
  • Graduation rates: This would be based on an average of the percentage of students graduating within four years and five years of starting high school. The average would include both four-year and five-year graduation rates for the past three years. In this area, a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher would be an “A.” The state board would determine the benchmarks for other levels.
  • Value-added: This would look at how much students learn in a given year.
  • Participation rates: This would look at how many students actually take state tests.
  • College enrollment and readiness: This would look at how many students enroll in college and are ready to take college-level courses without remediation.


  • sek49

    Does it concern anyone else that people judge quickly and a letter grade is an emotionally and psychologically charged symbol? All of us know the emotion attached to any of those grades…..It is a PR nightmare of the most serious kind. (also…. are there + and – grades???) Either the “grades” will be inflated so lots of schools look good, or they will mark many of them low and “prove” how terrible public schools are. It is a lose-lose situation for our publilc schools. It is impossible to give grades when the schools and the students are so disparate.

  • PublicSupporter#1

    Wow this article totally eliminates the discussion of the Republican task force trying to be pushed through! People wake up! The governor and their crew are not interested in helping public education. They want to dismantle it!!

  • Michael Roush

    I’m a little surprised at the number of public school educators who have a million (good) reasons why letter grades for schools are unfair, but they refuse to quit assigning them to students.

  • Public School Teacher

    Well Michael, if those teachers still grade on a bell curve, you have every right to bring this up. The real issue with the letter grade system suggested is that 1/4 of the school’s grade is based on that school’s ranking out of all those in the state. It is a system designed to display failure. There will always be 1/2 of the schools failing that component. It is unfair to compare schools when student populations vary so much. Charter schools and private schools get to pick and choose who they admit. Public schools don’t have that luxury and their report cards reflect that.

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