2018 Ohio School Report Cards

A red apple sits beside some pencils on a stack of books. A blackboard in the background has the words "Report Card" written on it.
[simez78 / Shutterstock]

The Ohio Department of Education released report cards for school districts as well as individual school buildings on Thursday. Search below for your school or district report card.

 
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More than 600 Ohio school districts got their report cards Thursday for the 2017-2018 academic year and for the first time they got an overall letter grade.

28 districts scored an A while 14 received an F. One of those failing districts is East Cleveland which faces a state takeover now that it’s had three consecutive years of failing marks.

Two others on the bubble, Warrensville Heights near Cleveland and Trotwood-Madison near Dayton, each improved and scored an overall D.

East Cleveland will join two other Northeast Ohio school districts that have been under CEO leadership: Youngstown since 2016 and Lorain since last year. Both received failing grades this year.

Still, Youngstown schools CEO Krish Mohip says the community is seeing “light at the end of the tunnel.”

“They’re believing in the school system that was an F in 2016, it was F in 2017, it’s an F this year,” said Mohip. “But they’re also close to it and see the changes that are happening.” 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District which has been operating under the Cleveland Plan since 2012 also received an overall F grade, but CEO Eric Gordon says he’s more focused on the direction the schools are going.

“Our test scores have increased an average of 6.7 percent. We increased our performance on 19 of the 21 test indicators. Our graduation rate is another record high of 74.6 percent and that’s a 22.5 percent gain since we started the Cleveland Plan,” said Gordon.

The new state report cards have some new factors that were not counted before. Districts can gain points if they lower their rate of chronic absenteeism. They can also gain points for teaching English to foreign-born students.

That helped boost the Gap Closing score for Akron Public Schools from an F to a B. The assistant superintendent for APS, Ellen McWilliams, says Akron now has a significant number of students - nine percent - who are English language learners.  

“Now we get credits for students showing increases in their English proficiency,” McWilliams explained. “We hit all the maximum points on the report card for that and really exceeded expectations.” 

McWilliams says overall Akron schools have never seen so much academic improvement across subjects and grades as they did last year.

Akron, Cleveland and a large share of districts saw their scores for K-3 literacy take a tumble this year. Gordon attributes the decline to a change in the grading scale.

“On that scale we got a D, so did anyone else who got a C last year,” said Gordon. “So that’s a grade scale change issue. But what’s really exciting for us is that last year we surpassed 88 districts. This year we surpassed 113 so we’re moving up in our rankings which shows us higher performing overall.”

State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria says East Cleveland is the only district facing state takeover. That system is currently being reviewed by the Ohio Department of Education. 

Understanding the Report Card Categories

Districts once labeled Excellent or Effective or on Academic Watch will now receive an A through F grade. Some school board members and state legislators want to do away with letter grades for fear that it oversimplifies school performance, but any changes will have to wait until next year.

The report cards grade districts on six categories: Achievement is a summation of their students’ statewide test scores. Gap Closing measures the ability of schools to narrow the achievement gaps between various demographic groups in the student population including minorities, English learners, and what the ODE calls “our most vulnerable populations.”

Those two grades each account for 20 percent of the overall grade. Other categories each account for 15 percent.

K-3 Literacy looks at how well districts keep the early grades on track to read at a third grade level. Progress is a measure of how much improvement students make from year to year. Graduation Rate is measured for both four- and five-year cohorts. And finally, Prepared for Success looks at the training and technical skills that students have acquired to prepare for college or the workplace.

The graduation rate statewide has risen every year since 2010. Most test scores have been declining and tanked in 2016 before rebounding last year. Much of the movement could be blamed on changes in new requirements and changes in the tests themselves.

In 2017 every statewide test score improved from the previous year with the exception of the fifth grade math exam and the high school history exam. Some observers say students may have been motivated by stricter graduation standards.

Achievement indexes could be tweaked this year by adding some new factors.

In following guidelines from the updated federal Every Student Succeeds Act, Ohio will give points for reductions in chronic absenteeism. The Ohio Department of Education considers anyone who misses 10 percent of the school days (an average of two per month in the school year) as chronically absent. The reason for the absence is not considered.

Districts can meet the goal if their chronic absenteeism percentage is at or below the 2018 threshold of 13.6 percent. Some schools saw rates as high as 45 percent. The ODE reports absenteeism is a key indicator of future success or failure. A school can also meet the objective by yearly reductions in absenteeism rates.

A factor in the Gap Closing component is improvement by English learners. The measure is based on gains in student performance on the Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment.

Districts such as Akron have seen an increase in the number of English language learners in recent years due to immigration to the city by families from South Asian countries Bhutan, Nepal, and Burma.

To meet the goals of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, schools build an individualized reading improvement and monitoring plan for each struggling student. Third graders take a state English exam twice during the year. Because this component is aimed at improving reading skills, districts that have fewer than five percent of its kindergartners reading below grade level at the beginning of the year will not be graded.

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