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Ohio’s School Accountability System: Understanding the Report Card

Background

Ohio's Department of Education produces annual report cards for schools and school districts.

Legislation establishing Ohio’s school accountability system was passed in 1997, though the system has been revised extensively since including revisions to bring it into alignment with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Currently, the Ohio Department of Education analyzes performance data for schools and districts and rates them as Excellent with Distinction, Excellent, Effective, Continuous Improvement, Academic watch, or Academic Emergency. The data used to create those ratings include:

  • The percentage of students passing state tests;
  • How well students score on state tests;
  • For elementary and middle schools, a calculation showing how much progress students made in a particular school year;
  • Attendance rates;
  • High school graduation rates; and
  • Whether or not the school or district meets federal standards. (Those federal standards are called Adequate Yearly Progress and include reading and math test passing rates and test participation, attendance and graduation rates.)
What are the consequences of those ratings?

Schools and districts face varying consequences for failing to meet federal standards. But for the 2010-11 school year, there were few consequences tied to traditional public schools’ and districts’ report card ratings. (Charter schools already face sanctions for repeatedly receiving low grades from the state.) The consequences for traditional public schools will change in the coming years with provisions included in the 2011 biennial budget that require the Department of Education to rank schools and reward top performers and apply stricter sanctions to some schools with low grades.

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