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Ohio Report Card 2016 debuts new components for student progress

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The Ohio Department of Education released its 2016 report card on Thursday, which featured many new additions to the grading system, including a new letter grade for each section of the report card rather than just one grade.

This is the first year that each component received its own A-F composite score. The main components included Achievement, Progress, K-3 Literacy, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate and Prepared for Success.

“We all have the same goals. We want to make sure that when students leave school they are prepared with the skills they need so that they will succeed in the workforce,” said Chris Woolard, a director of the Center for Accountability and Continuous Improvement.

The 2016 Progress component looked at past performances of students in every Ohio district and compared it to the past school year’s performance. This year, 114 of the 608 districts fell in the “A” range for progress.

A new addition for 2016 is the influence of state tests on the composite grade. There are also the same two measures of progress as past years for Ohio schools: the performance index, which consists of how well students did; and the indicators met, or how many students passed. Ohio is also phasing out the Ohio Graduation Test, which means less indication of progress from that particular test.

The K-3 Literacy report is meant to show the progress of struggling readers in Ohio, meaning students who are not reading at the desired grade level. This report does not necessarily give an indication of the children who are reading above their age group, but it does emphasize the advances made for below-average readers.

“Ohio students who are reading proficiently in the third grade are five times more likely to achieve college and career readiness than their non-proficient peers,” said Woolard. “That’s why it is essential that Ohio’s youngest students, who are not on track with their reading, receive the help and support they need to be successful.”

The Gap Closing component emphasizes the success and academic achievement made by students coming from minorities and low income communities. This year, 49.9 percent of students came from low income households, while students belonging to minority groups accounted for 28.8 percent and disabled students represented 14.4 percent.

“Ohio has made strides over the years in reducing these gaps, but there is more work needed to bring all students to the same high level of achievement,” Woolard said.

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