Priority Schools

Ohio uses the accountability measures on the Ohio School Report Cards as gauges for continuous improvement. In alignment with federal requirementsand Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, the state’s lowest-performing schools are identified as Priority schools. In Ohio, Priority schools — also known federally as Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CSI) — will include, at a minimum, the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools.

1Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA section 1111(c)(4)(D))

Identification of Priority schools will be based on meeting at least one of three criteria:

  1. Schools with a four-year graduation rate of 67 percent or lower; or
  2. Lowest-performing schools using the report card’s overall grade methodology; or
  3. Failure to improve subgroup performance over the three-year identification period.
Schools will be identified using the ESSA-aligned criteria with the release of the 2018 Ohio School Report Cards, which use the performance data for schools from the 2017-2018 school year. Schools will then be identified every three years following the 2018 identification.

Criteria 1: Identification based on graduation rate

Who is included? All schools (public district schools, community schools, STEM designated schools and schools designated as dropout prevention and recovery community schools) with graduating cohorts of at least 10 students with data from the 2017-2018 Ohio School Report Cards.

What is calculated? The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, as defined by the United States Department of Education, will be calculated for all applicable schools. The total number of graduates (numerator) is divided by the total number of students in the graduating cohort (denominator).

To meet requirements of ESSA, the calculation of the graduation rate, starting with the class of 2017, uses the graduation rate for those students meeting standard graduation requirements for use in Ohio’s Priority school identification process. This graduation rate currently is not reported on the Ohio School Report Cards but is used for identification purposes as required by ESSA.

The ESSA four-year graduation rate for each school was recalculated by the following:

  1. Identifying students who:
  1. Were counted as receiving a diploma by virtue of being exempt from testing-related graduation requirements pursuant to their IEPs; or
  2. Met testing requirements based on scores from alternate assessments; and
  1. Identifying those students in (A.) who satisfied other graduation criteria (did the student meet the appropriate levels on the Ohio Graduation Tests); met the appropriate levels on some combination of OGT and end-of-course exams; achieved a remediation-free score on the ACT or SAT; or achieved the requisite score on the WorkKeys assessment and received a sufficient number of industry-recognized credentials).

If the student was identified in (A.) but did not satisfy one or more of the criteria in (B.), the student is removed from the numerator of the calculation.

How are schools identified? If a school’s ESSA four-year graduation rate is 67 percent or lower, it will be identified as a Priority school.  

Criteria 2: Identification based on overall grade

Who is included? All schools that receive Title I funding (Title I-served schools) in the 2017-2018 school year are included in the initial calculation (includes Title I-served schools as of Sept. 21, 2018).

What is calculated? The overall grade for schools is calculated according to the methodology set by the Department.

To meet requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the overall grade used in Ohio’s Priority school identification process is different than what is reported on the Ohio School Report Cards. An ESSA overall grade will be calculated for each school that takes into consideration the ESSA four-year graduation rate (as described above in Criteria 1), as well as an unweighted Performance Index (as described in Ohio’s ESSA state plan, p.26).

The “ESSA overall grade” will be assigned according to the methodology above and is reported as a letter grade (A-F), as well as assigned a number 0-5.

How are schools identified? Each school’s ESSA overall grade is ordered by the 0-5 numerical value and rank ordered. Schools are first identified through Criteria 1 (graduation rate of 67 percent or lower) then, based on the overall grade rank ordering, the lowest 5 percent of remaining schools are identified as Priority schools.  

Criteria 3: Failure to improve subgroup performance (not applicable until after the 2020-2021 school year)

Who is included? All schools identified as Focus or Warning schools based on at least one subgroup performing at a level similar to the lowest 5 percent of schools.

How are schools identified? Beginning with the updated identification list after the 2020-2021 school year, schools originally identified as Focus or Warning schools that do not improve their related student subgroup performance to meet the Focus or Warning school exit criteria will be re-identified as Priority schools.

Exit Criteria
Priority Status:

  • School performance is higher than the lowest 5 percent of schools as determined by the overall report card grade for two consecutive years;
  • The school earns a four-year graduation rate of better than 67 percent for two consecutive school years; and
  • No student subgroups are performing at a level similar to the lowest 5 percent of schools (based on individual subgroup performance).


Priority School Resources

Last Modified: 12/8/2022 8:13:48 AM