Ohio BOE Considers Delaying Overall Grade On State Report Cards

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State Board of Education members will vote this week on whether to ask for a delay in the implementation of the final phase of the state’s A-F grading system.

The 2017-2018 report cards, expected in September, will be the first time schools receive an overall grade. Those summative grades for schools and school districts are made up of more than a dozen smaller measures including academic progress, graduation rates and K-3rd grade literacy.

A resolution from board member Dr. Kara Morgan of Dublin, however, calls on the General Assembly to push back that release because, she said, the system has not been finalized.

Two additional indicators will be added to the report cards this year, Morgan said, one that measures students who retake their end of course exams and another to measure chronic absenteeism. That measurement is required under Ohio’s Every Student Succeeds Act compliance plan.

Still, Morgan said additional changes could be coming as both state lawmakers and a workgroup of the state Board of Education review the current system.

“The state report card is kind of perceived as this house of cards. There’s lots of things that are in it that are potentially valuable, but it seems a little fragile right now,” Morgan said. “My concern is that by kind of placing this composite score on top of it, it’ll all just tumble down.”

In addition to future changes, Morgan said the addition of the composite grades this fall could “further increase mistrust” in the report cards themselves.

Superintendents and principals often tell parents that the grades don’t matter, Morgan said, and she wants an accountability system that can not only be used to improve education in the state, but is also seen as reliable by educators and parents.

Lawmakers would have to approve legislation to delay the release of summative grades.

The Board of Education is expected to vote on the resolution Tuesday.