LIMA — The Ohio Department of Education on Tuesday released the annual report cards on Ohio public schools.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s report cards do not contain overall grades for any district or building, individual grades or ratings for given components or performance measures. The report cards also do not include any information about student performance on state tests, the academic growth of students during the school year and the extent to which achievement gaps are being addressed for students.
The report does include information on graduation rates, Prepared for Success indicators and some other measures.
Overall, the report card shows continued improvement in the high school graduation rate. The four-year graduation rates are 85.9% for the Class of 2019. That’s up from 85.3% the previous year and is a 7.9% increase since 2010.
Lima schools saw a four-year graduating rate of only 74%.
“The four-year rate kind of stayed pretty steady. The five-year rate did go from 67.4% to 75.8%, a pretty significant jump,” said Jill Ackerman, superintendent of Lima schools.
Delphos schools had 86.4% of their students graduating in four years, and the state said that 42.5% of the students were prepared for success.
“We know that we were always evaluating, you know, about how we go about business and how we educate kids and what’s best for kids. This is just a piece of the puzzle that we’ll use to inform decision making and to move our students forward,” said Doug Westrick, superintendent of Delphos schools.
Looking at how area schools performed in the four-year graduating rate category, Lima schools reported a rate of 74%, Elida reported 86.9%, Shawnee 92.4%, Spencerville 94%, Perry 93.2%, Allen East 93.3%, Bath 93.8%, Bluffton 96.9%, Delphos 86.4%, Columbus Grove 98.7%, Ottoville 100%, Ottawa-Glandorf 98.2%, Continental 97.8%, Pandora-Gilboa 95.5%, Miller City-New Cleveland 100%, Kalida 97.9%, Leipsic 98.3%, Jennings 97.3%, Minster 100%, St. Marys 95.6%, Wapakoneta 96.2%, New Bremen 98.5%, New Knoxville 100% and Waynesfield-Goshen 85.7%.
As for whether students are prepared for success, Lima schools received a dismal 12.9% rating.
“So when you look at it, the ACT participation rate was 77.2%. The ACT remediation free rate is 4.6%, so that’s definitely an area that we need to focus on. We’re missing out on what they call bonus students. We get bonus points for them because they did the ACT, earned an honors diploma and got an industry-recognized credential. We had one student for that, so that’s very low,” Ackerman said.
Students prepared for success scores were as follows: Lima 12.9%, Elida 36.4%, Shawnee 59.6%, Spencerville 44.3%, Perry 35.6%, Allen East 45.4%, Bath 46.8%, Bluffton 54.2%, Delphos 42.5%, Columbus Grove 50.9%, Ottoville 66.5%, Ottawa-Glandorf 57%, Continental 42.5%, Pandora-Gilboa 51.9%, Miller City-New Cleveland 61.5%, Kalida 78.8%, Leipsic 43.5%, Jennings 57.9%, Minster 93.4%, St. Marys 40.1%, Wapakoneta 49.3%, New Bremen 60.5%, New Knoxville 52.9% and Waynesfield-Goshen 39%.
The Ohio Education Association is urging lawmakers to “overhaul the state’s broken report cards once and for all.”
“These latest school and district report cards shine a spotlight on the major problems with the entire report card scheme,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “The fact that the state recognizes that any 2020 letter grades and rankings would be useless without spring testing data proves just how overly-reliant the existing grade card system is on standardized tests. If the essential value of the state’s report card system is standardized test results — which do not accurately represent how a student, teacher or school is performing — the state’s current report card system has no value at all.”
A bill introduced in the Ohio Senate (SB 358) would make some changes, requiring the Ohio Department of Education to seek a federal waiver of testing requirements and suspend the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and the fall third grade English Test.
The bill also calls for suspending school and district report card ratings for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
Westrick agrees it’s time for the system to get re-evaluated.
“I think that makes a lot of sense. I think it gives lawmakers some time to really evaluate the report card and put some thought into this. And, you know, what are we going to measure and what’s actually important? I think that makes a lot of sense to take some time and really re-evaluate the Ohio report cards,” Westrick said.
Ackerman is in agreement that changes need to happen to the state report card.
“We definitely have been very vocal about that needing to be looked at and I do feel like there’s some traction behind it. You know with SB 358, I feel like right now’s a good time for people at the state level to really take an opportunity to sit down and assess it,” Ackerman said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.