Here's what you need to know about Ohio's school report cards

It's just not students receiving report cards--school districts earn them, too.

The Ohio Department of Education releases annual snapshots of how schools are performing. 

The 2015-16 batch of results were released Thursday. 

But these report cards aren't necessarily as easy to understand as your elementary scorecard might've been.

Here are a few questions you may have about these report cards. 

How are schools graded? 

The data is based on how students perform on standardized tests.  Both overall districts and individual school buildings are graded.   Kids in the Buckeye State took a brand new standardized test last year. They took a different exam the year before, too. This may mean both a dip in scores and difficulty making year-to-year comparisons. 

Is there one overall grade? 

Nope. While future report cards will have an overall grade (which'll make it a lot easier to compare districts), this year doesn't. It's the first year the state is using letter grades in each of the 16 different areas.  

Each of those areas fall into six big categories: K-3 literacy, progress, achievement, achievement gap closing, graduation rate, and how well students are prepared to be successful. Get more information on those breakdowns by clicking here to visit the state's website

Okay, how'd Ohio do?

Spoiler alert: it's a pretty mixed bag of results. While plenty of schools still saw As, many schools took some hits as Cs turned to Ds and Ds slipped to Fs in individual categories. There could be two main reasons for that slip. Again, the state's tests have changed, plus the department of education also raised its benchmarks and expectations for districts.

Here's the overall state report card from the ODOE's website (WKYC app users: click here to see the document on the state's website):

State Report Card

 

How can I see how my own district performed?

Check out the state's interactive website. You can see how individual buildings and your district overall performed. Visit the website by clicking here

Speaking of the state, what are Ohio's top education officials saying saying?

Here's the statement from state superintendent Paolo Demaria

“Ohio has raised expectations for students to reflect what is necessary for them to be successful in college, careers and life. This year’s report cards and the grades we’re seeing reflect a system in transition. They reflect new tests, higher achievement targets and more challenging expectations. Improvement is happening, and with time, it will begin to show on the report cards. There are many ways that parents and communities gauge the success and improvement of schools and districts — the report card is one of them. At the same time, we know schools and districts will use these report cards to have discussions about performance and make decisions about instruction and improvement strategies.”

And here's a response from Ohio School Boards Association president Eric Germann: 

“To truly gauge progress, it’s important to take a holistic look at student and district
achievement. The report card is just one component. Many other factors, including job, college and military placement, scholarships awarded, the arts and community service must be part of the
overall picture of student success."

What about districts' response? 

There haven't been many official statements yet.

But as the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, more than 80 districts released something called a "Quality Profile" earlier this week. Districts produce these documents that they say give a deeper look than just the report card can provide. Take a look at some documents produce by districts like Westlake and Hudson


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