Accountability and Report Cards

Information on Accountability and the Ohio School Report Cards for the 2019-2020 School Year

Ohio’s ordered school-building closure and subsequent emergency legislation (House Bill 197 of the 133rd General Assembly) have substantial impacts on the state’s accountability system and the Ohio School Report Cards for the 2019-2020 school year. During this time of crisis, Ohio’s schools and educators should be focused on addressing the health and safety needs of their students and making a good faith effort, within their available capabilities, to support continued learning outside of school. Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education have committed to pursuing state and federal flexibility from numerous requirements, including state testing and accountability.  

The U.S. Department of Education has provided states the ability to seek one-year waivers from the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) testing and accountability requirements. The Ohio General Assembly subsequently passed emergency legislation canceling the spring administration of Ohio’s State Tests and waiving report card requirements other than reporting of some limited, available data. The legislation also put in place a “Safe Harbor” period for many elements of the accountability system. Accordingly, the Ohio Department of Education sought and received a federal ESSA waiver for the 2019-2020 school year. This document provides key related information regarding accountability and report cards.   

Many questions still exist regarding the status and details for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. The Ohio Department of Education will provide updates as they become available. 


Limited reporting of report card data for the 2019-2020 school year 

Ohio School Report Cards, Dropout Prevention and Recovery report cards and Career-Technical Planning District report cards all have multiple measures that use assessment data that will not be available or may be substantially limited this year.  

The emergency legislation requires:  

(B)(1) The Department of Education shall not publish state report card ratings under section 3302.03, 3302.033, 3314.012 or 3314.017 of the Revised Code nor shall the Department be required to submit preliminary data for the report cards by July 31, 2020, as required by those sections. Furthermore, the Department shall not assign an overall grade under division (C)(3) of section 3302.03 of the Revised Code for any school district or building, shall not assign an individual grade to any component prescribed under division (C)(3) of section 3302.03 of the Revised Code, shall not assign a grade to any measures under (C)(1) of section 3302.03 of the Revised Code, and shall not rank school districts, community schools, or STEM schools under section 3302.21 of the Revised Code for the 2019-2020 school year.  

However, the Department shall report any data that it has regarding the performance of districts and buildings for the 2019-2020 school year by September 15, 2020. 1 

In this situation, measures that use prior-year data or data that already has been collected for the 2019-2020 school year will be reported for informational purposes only. While this does not represent the full picture of a school or district’s academic performance this school year, it will provide helpful information that can be used for planning and program purposes.  

In many cases for districts, schools and community schools, reports will be available for the following:  

  • Graduation rates (graduation rate is lagged by one year, so the rate on 2020 reports cards represents the rate for the 2018-2019 school year);
  • ​Prepared for Success; 
  • Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers (partial).   

The Career-Technical Planning District report card may have several measures that use data from prior years, including:  

  • Graduation rates (for the 2018-2019 school year, lagged one year);
  • Career and postsecondary readiness data;
  • ​Post-program outcomes.  

The Dropout Prevention and Recovery report card also may have the four-, five-, six-, seven- and eight-year graduation rates reported, all of which would reflect 2018-2019 school year data lagged.  

Additional data that typically are “report only” information sources will be provided. The Ohio Department of Education will provide more details on this limited information reporting in the coming weeks. 


Safe harbor 

The emergency legislation also creates a safe harbor from numerous state consequences or carryover of previous requirements based on report card results. 

State consequences. The emergency legislation requires:  

(2) The absence of report card ratings for the 2019-2020 school year shall have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties, and shall not create a new starting point for determinations that are based on ratings over multiple years. The report card ratings of any previous or subsequent years shall be considered in determining whether a school district or building is subject to sanctions or penalties. If a school district or building was subject to any of the following penalties or sanctions in the 2019-2020 school year based on its report card rating for previous school years, those penalties or sanctions shall remain for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The penalties or sanctions included in the above emergency legislation include carryover of identification for:  

  • Restructuring provisions under Chapter 3302 of the Revised Code;  
  • The Columbus City School Pilot Project under section 3302.42 of the Revised Code;  
  • Academic distress commissions under section 3302.10 of the Revised Code;  
  • Prescribing new buildings where students are eligible for Educational Choice Scholarships under section 3310.03 of the Revised Code;  
  • Defining “challenged school districts” as prescribed in section 3314.02 of the Revised Code;  
  • Community school closure requirements under section 3314.35 or 3314.351 of the Revised Code; and 
  • Conditions under which community schools may change sponsors under section 3314.034 of the Revised Code.  

Academic distress commissions. The emergency legislation includes a few provisions for academic distress commissions. The limited 2019-2020 report card information will have no effect on academic distress commission determinations and does not create a new starting point for determinations. In other words, no district will have an academic distress commission established based on the limited 2019-2020 report card data. However, any district whose previous report cards led to one or two years of the required three years to become subject to an academic distress commission will carry over those years to future determinations.

Districts with existing academic distress commissions will carry over that status. For the 2020-2021 school year, existing chief executive officers do not gain any new powers. Such additional powers would not be in effect any earlier than the issuance of the 2020-2021 report cards.  


Federal ESSA designations. Additionally, as set forth in emergency legislation and in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education: 

“Any school that is identified for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement or additional targeted support and improvement in the 2019-2020 school year will maintain that identification status in the 2020-2021 school year and continue to receive supports and interventions consistent with the school’s support and improvement plan in the 2020-2021 school year.” 

In Ohio, the term “Priority” is used for comprehensive support and improvement schools, and the term “Focus” is used for targeted support and improvement schools. Therefore, current Priority and Focus school designations and supports will carry over into the 2020-2021 school year. 


Impact to future report cards and programs 

Several report card components and measures may be impacted in years beyond the 2019-2020 school year. The Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing and Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers components all include multiple years of data — some including year-over-year improvement in the calculation. More details on these future impacts will be forthcoming.   

Many state and federally mandated reports include academic performance data. These reports will be completed to the extent possible, although the data may be limited for the 2019-2020 school year. 


Using data to focus on equity 

The unprecedented circumstances only increase the need for Ohio educators to focus on equity. While the ordered school-building closure will affect all students, some students may experience greater negative impacts than others during this period. A significant, proactive step Ohio educators can take to promote equity in these circumstances is to focus on the use of data to gauge student needs. Using state and, in particular, local data, districts should be prepared to identify student needs and target both academic and student wellness supports to those students.  

Regional data leads are education professionals who promote the use of student performance data among other educators regionally, both to strengthen professional practice and improve learning for all students. Regional data leads are located at educational service centers and state support teams throughout the state. They are valuable resources to educators and administrators as they work together to continue making data-informed decisions to best support student learning during and after this public health crisis. Contact information for regional data leads is available here


Data reporting  

The EMIS reporting windows will continue to open per the posted EMIS processing schedule to allow districts and schools to submit data. Districts will be able to report available data with the understanding that some manifests may not be opened because no data exist (for example, the spring standard assessments will not contain scores). The Ohio Department of Education will update EMIS information and related reporting windows to address these changes as necessary. Please check here frequently for updates to the EMIS processing schedule.   


Medical waivers 

The emergency medical waiver application submission window will not open this year. These waiver requests usually are submitted to account for the rare medical emergencies in which students cannot take one or more assessments during the testing windows. The waivers are used to adjust participation rate and achievement calculations. With the cancelation of spring assessments and the limited report card for the 2019-2020 school year, this waiver submission process is not needed.  


Additional questions 

The Ohio Department of Education recognizes the challenges both educators and their students are facing because of this public health crisis.  

The emergency legislation addressed accountability concerns regarding the 2019-2020 school year. Many educators, parents and community members will have questions regarding the impact on the 2020-2021 school year. The Ohio Department of Education will provide additional information regarding next year as it becomes available. 

If you have questions about the report cards or accountability systems, send an email to

1 Section 17(B)(1), House Bill 197, 133rd General Assembly.
2 Section 17(B)(2), House Bill 197, 133rd General Assembly.

Last Modified: 5/3/2022 11:03:13 AM