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Ohio’s New A-F Report Cards Praised

Release date: 5/29/2014

Education Commission of the States Researchers Rate Ohio Report Cards Top Three in Nation

COLUMBUS, OH – While many states are struggling to create school accountability systems that are easy to find, meaningful to parents and filled with useful data, Ohio has been praised for the design and understandability of its new A-F report cards.  

An independent review by the Education Commission of the States gave Ohio’s new report card “nearly perfect scores” for its excellent design and ease of use. Ohio was the only state that was highlighted by all three evaluation groups (parents, researchers and the report’s authors).

The Education Commission of the States released the report Rating States, Grading Schools: What Parents and Experts Say States Should Consider to Make Accountability Systems Meaningful  after a three-part analysis of all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s report cards. The analysis included:

  • Assigning experienced online  researchers to find school accountability reports in each state;
  • Asking parents to rate a school report card in each state on overall usefulness;
  • Convening experts to select the essential indicators for any school accountability system.

“We released the new A-F report cards with the idea that they would be easier to understand and provide more information to both parents and educators,” said State Superintendent Dr. Richard A. Ross. “This report validates our efforts so far. But the real winners are the boys and girls of Ohio who will benefit from the information included in Ohio’s report cards.”

In August, Ohio released the new school and school district report cards that assign A-F letter grades in up to nine performance areas. The grades are available at Ohio’s new interactive report card site, reportcard.education.ohio.gov.

Prior report cards assessed schools and districts mostly on achievement test results and rated them using descriptors such as “Excellent” or “Academic Watch.” The terms were unclear, leading the state to eliminate the ratings and move to more commonly understood letter grades.

In addition to using easier to understand letter grades, the new report card system provides parents, taxpayers, school administrators and teachers with a more comprehensive look at the performance of schools and districts.

“It was time for a clearer way of rating school performance that will help schools and families see what we still have to do to give our students the education they deserve,” Ross said at the time.

Ohio also issued the new A-F report cards for career-technical schools and information about the performance of “dropout recovery” community schools and recently added gifted education data to the report cards posted online.

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